AFTER warnings from Public Health England following increased levels of children catching gastroenteritis across St Helens, we've put together a list of how best to prevent catching the tummy bug.

Though it's not always possible to avoid getting gastroenteritis, here is some advice to stop the spread of it.

- Those with the condition should stay off work, school or nursery until at least 48 hours after the symptoms have passed.

-You or your child should also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.

-Ensure you and your child wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water, particularly after using the toilet and before preparing food. Don't rely on alcohol hand gels, as they're not always effective.

-Disinfect any surfaces or objects that could be contaminated. It's best to use a bleach-based household cleaner and wash contaminated items of clothing or bedding separately on a hot wash.

-Don't share towels, flannels, cutlery or utensils while you or your child is ill.

-Practice good food hygiene.

But for those who already have it, here is a list of how best to look after your poorly loved one.

- Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids. They need to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea. Water is generally best. Avoid giving them fizzy drinks or fruit juice.

- Make sure they get plenty of rest.

- Let your child eat if they're feeling hungry, just try small amounts of plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.

- Give them paracetamol if they have an uncomfortable fever or aches and pains.

- Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if they're dehydrated. Your GP or pharmacist can advise on how much to give your child.

- Make sure you and your child wash your hands regularly while your child is ill and keep them away from school or nursery until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have cleared