Norovirus, commonly referred to as the stomach flu, is an illness that causes quick acting symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can occur at any time of year, but is most common in the winter. And when a new strain is circulating, there may be up to 50 percent more cases reported.
The Centers for Disease Control says that Norovirus is highly contagious. An infected person can shed billions of particles, but it may take as few as 18 to cause infection. Symptoms usually develop 12-48 hours after exposure and typically include vomiting, watery diarrhea and nausea. Some people may have a low grade fever, a headache, and body aches. Symptoms, while quick acting, also last for a short time, usually 24-72 hours.
Noroviruses can spread by close person to person contact, contaminated food, water, or objects. It can also spread through aerosolized vomit.
Two Rivers Public Health Department says that one of the best ways to prevent infection is hand-washing. If one of your family members becomes sick, take extra precautions. If you have two bathrooms, have the sick person, use only one of them and keep other people out.
Wash the sick person's laundry separately and dry on as hot a setting as possible. Use your dishwasher. Take special care with cleanup-- blot up vomit, rather than vacuuming, use a steam cleaner, if needed.
Most people recover quickly, but be especially watchful of young children and the elderly who are at a greater risk of dehydration due to the loss of fluids. Provide plenty of liquids to replace these lost fluids. If symptoms of dehydration occur, such as decreased urine or extreme dizziness when standing, contact your medical provider right away.
Take simple precautions, such as frequent
hand-washing, thorough cleaning, and keeping family members home when ill.
more information, go to www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html.