Cases of a winter sickness bug are higher than usual, the government has warned.

Data from the UK Health Security Agency has shown cases of norovirus are 66pc higher than the average at this time of year.

The biggest increase has been seen in those aged 65 years and over, and these high levels haven’t been seen in more than a decade.

What are the symptoms of norovirus?

Norovirus is a sickness bug with symptoms including vomiting and diarrhoea.

Other symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, fever, headache and body aches.

NHS Medical Director, Professor Sir Stephen Powis, said: "It is a really unpleasant illness to catch, but for the vast majority of people it will usually pass in a couple of days, and self-treating at home is the best way to help yourself and avoid putting others at risk."

How can norovirus be caught?

Norovirus is very infectious and easily spread through contact with someone with the infection or with contaminated surfaces.

How can norovirus be prevented?

Stay out of contact with anyone affected and wash your hands regularly - alcohol gels do not kill norovirus.

How can I reduce the spread if I have norovirus?

Those with the virus are asked to stay at home until 48 hours after symptoms have cleared.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.

Use a bleach-based household cleaner to disinfect contaminated surfaces.

Wash any contaminated clothing or bedding using detergent and at 60°C and, if possible, wear disposable gloves to handle contaminated items.

How long does norovirus last?

Most people will make a full recovery within two to three days and it is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

You are still contagious 48 hours after symptoms have stopped.

Where are the majority of norovirus cases coming from?

Cases in hospitals, schools and care homes have increased.

The majority of outbreaks have been reported in care homes.