A ward at Southampton General Hospital is closed due to norovirus following a rise in infections.

As the cold snap hits the south coast, Southampton is seeing a small rise in hospital admissions.

Data released by the NHS shows that in the week starting on Monday November 20, just 10 hospital beds were occupied by patients suffering with norovirus.

By the end of the week, on Sunday November 26, the figure had risen to 51.

Gail Byrne, chief nursing officer at University Hospital Southampton, said: “While we have seen only a small rise in cases of norovirus recently, with one ward closed currently, cases are rising in communities across the country and we are working hard to try to minimise the impact and risk of this to our patients and staff.

“We ask the public to make sensible choices to help control the spread of infection which includes staying at home if you have signs of norovirus – such as diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps and a temperature – and ensuring good hand hygiene by washing hands regularly with soap and warm water.”

Norovirus is often called the "winter vomiting bug" as it causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Cases go up every winter as our immune system struggles to cope with colder temperatures.

Unlike other viruses, such as coronavirus, norovirus symptoms start suddenly within one or two days after being in contact with an infected person.

Mrs Byrne added: “Symptoms can last for two to three days or sometimes longer, however, people can remain infectious for another 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

“We ask that anyone with symptoms or who could be infectious to stay away from hospital unless you are seeking urgent medical attention.

“Further guidance is available on the NHS website or via 111 online.”

The key to fighting off the virus is to rest and have lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Those infected with norovirus will usually start to feel better in two to three days.