A HIGHLY contagious winter sickness bug has hit the Fylde coast.
Health protection chiefs at Blackpool Council have been notified of five premises where people have reported suffering Norovirus and are urging people to take precautions.
The hotels and residential homes affected have not been identified by town hall bosses who said cases had been seen in hotels and rest homes.
The illness, which causes severe vomiting and diarrhoea and can last up to 48 hours, can spread rapidly in close-knit communities such as hospitals, care homes, cruise ships, schools and hotels.
Outbreaks of the bug are common at this time of year.
And Coun Gillian Campbell, cabinet member for quality standards at Blackpool Council, told The Gazette: “This winter we’ve already seen five instances of gastroenteritis affecting people in hotels and residential homes in Blackpool. It’s likely these people are suffering from
“The virus is very easily spread from person to person and can survive on surfaces for several days.
“Although extremely unpleasant, most people recover within 12 to 60 hours by resting and taking plenty of fluids.
“When we are aware of a suspected outbreak of norovirus will we visit the premises and offer advice on how to prevent further spread of the virus.”
The virus can be transmitted by contact with an infected person, by consuming contaminated food or water or by contact with contaminated surfaces or objects.
Those with symptoms are urged to stay away from work, school or college, until they have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
They should also not prepare or handle food for other people, visit people in hospital or residential homes, or attend social gatherings.
If people are poorly, they should not visit their GP surgery or A&E – health bosses say they will recover naturally without treatment.
But if symptoms persist or appear to be worsening, patients are advised to phone their family doctor or NHS Direct.
Hand-washing and good hygiene is paramount, health bosses said.