Forth Valley residents are being urged to take basic precautions to prevent the Norovirus - the notorious vomiting bug - from spreading.
These include washing your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food.
Alcohol hand gels don’t work, as they do not kill the virus.
You should disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated using a bleach-based household cleaner.
Meanwhile any items of clothing or bedding that could have become contaminated separately should be cleaned on a hot wash to ensure the virus is killed.
Don’t share towels and flannels, and clean the toilet and any surrounding areas which have come into contact with vomit or diarrhoea
If you have vomiting or diarrhoea you should not go to school, work or visit people in hospital or care homes until 48 hours after your symptoms have ended.
This is because the virus spreads very easily and can be transmitted through close contact with someone who has been infected.
NHS Forth Valley lead nurse for infection control, Trisha Miller, said: “Rates of Norovirus fluctuate from year to year with occasional spikes so we cannot estimate how severe this winter season will be.
However we remain vigilant and ready to cope with whatever the winter has in store.”
Norovirus, or the winter vomiting bug, is a common virus affecting all age groups - particularly the frail, the elderly and the young.
Although it is highly infectious and unpleasant, most people make a full recovery within two to three days with no complications.
The symptoms of Norovirus usually clear up in a couple of days and are generally not serious.
However, diarrhoea can be serious in babies and the elderly because of the risk of dehydration. If diarrhoea is persistent or there are other symptoms, such as bleeding, you should contact your GP.
For more information visit www.nhsinform.scot