SCHOOLS, hospitals and places of work - nowhere is safe from the winter vomiting virus it seems.

Risedale Sports and Communtiy College and Carnagill Community Primary School, both in Catterick Garrison, are the latest among several across the region to experience unprecedented levels of sickness in the classroom.

Norovirus, also called the "winter vomiting bug", is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea.

Parents have come to dread the winter months because the virus often spreads through schools - leading to widespread illness.

The good news is that although it can be very unpleasant, norovirus usually goes away in about 2 days.

According to the NHS website, the main symptoms of norovirus are: feeling sick (nausea) diarrhoea being sick (vomiting) You may also have: a high temperature of 38C or above a headache aching arms and legs The symptoms start suddenly within 1 to 2 days of being infected.

What should you do if you have norovirus?

Stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days. Also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.

This is when you're most infectious.

How to avoid catching it

You can catch norovirus from: close contact with someone with norovirus touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them, then touching your mouth eating food that's been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus.

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading. Alcohol hand gels don't kill norovirus.