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Health and Pandemics

Winter health

Noroviruspicture of a man sneezing

Norovirus, also known as 'winter vomiting disease' causes gastroenteritis and is highly infectious. The virus is easily transmitted through contact with infected individuals from one person to another.

Outbreaks are common in semi-enclosed environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, schools and offices and can also occur in restaurants and hotels.

The virus is usually mild and lasts for one or two days. Symptoms include vomiting, projectile vomiting, diarrhoea and fever. Most people make a full recovery within a couple of days but it can be dangerous for the very young and elderly people.

For more information, download stop Norovirus spreading this winter leaflet

Flu outbreak

Colds and flu affect over 15 million people a year in the UK and during a pandemic, such as the Swine Flu (H1N1) outbreaks in 2009 and 2010, the symptoms and risks intensify; especially among vulnerable groups such as the young, elderly and those with existing medical conditions.

During 2009 alone, 242 deaths in the UK were directly caused by Swine Flu.

During a health pandemic, the NHS will offer guidance and advice to the public and these can be located on the NHS guidance website.

Flu outbreaks and health pandemics can also affect businesses if several staff are all taken ill and off work at the same time. Download the pandemic flu checklist for businesses [pdf] 128KB


Picture of a summer sunsetWhilst most of us enjoy sunny weather, the extreme heat of a heatwave can be seriously damaging to your health, and can sometimes be fatal.

Whilst extreme heat is dangerous to everyone it is especially so to vulnerable groups including:

  • babies and young children
  • The elderly
  • Those living in care homes
  • At-risk groups, such as those with existing breathing or heart problems

When temperatures remain abnormally high over more than a couple of days, excessive heat can prove fatal. In one hot spell during the South East in August 2003, deaths among people aged over 75 rose by 60 per cent. In England, since 2003, there has been heatwave periods in 2006, 2009 and 2013.

Symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion can appear rapidly and it is important, especially for vulnerable groups to take extra precautions during such extreme weather.

Heatwave advice

The NHS has a guidance document on how to look after yourselves and others during extreme temperatures:

Download the heatwave plan for England - Looking after yourself and others during hot weather [pdf] 268KB

The following document will also be of use if you are in a health or social care worker or look after other vulnerable people:

Download the heatwave plan for England - Supporting vulnerable people (advice for health and social care professionals) [pdf] 523KB

If you require immediate medical advice, please contact NHS on 111 or, in an emergency only, call 999.

Contact us

If you have any queries or require further information on this webpage, please contact Emergency Planning on 01233 330271 or email emergency.planning@ashford.gov.uk

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