Help Prevent the Spread of Norovirus

December 30, 2011

Norovirus has been reported in the area including two local nursing homes.  Many patients and staff may have been experiencing this.  Infection with these viruses affects the stomach and intestines and causes an illness called gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu or GI bug.

Anyone Can Get Norovirus

Anyone can be infected with noroviruses and get sick. Also, you can get norovirus illness more than once during your life. The illness often begins suddenly. You may feel very sick, with stomach cramping, throwing up, or diarrhea.

Other, less common symptoms may include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and general sense of fatigue.

Norovirus illness is usually not serious. Most people get better in 1­ to 2 days. But, norovirus illness can be serious in young children, the elderly, and people with other health conditions; it can lead to severe dehydration, hospitalization and even death. People with norovirus illness are contagious from the moment they begin feeling sick until at least 3 days after they recover.

But, some people may be contagious for even longer.

Norovirus Spreads Quickly

Norovirus can spread quickly from person to person. The viruses are found in the vomit and stool of infected people. You can get it by:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus (someone gets stool or vomit on their hands, then touches food or drink).
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth.
  • Having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus (for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils with them).

Norovirus: No Vaccine and No Treatment

There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection. Also, there is no drug to treat people who get sick from the virus. Antibiotics will not help if you have norovirus illness. This is because antibiotics fight against bacteria, not viruses. The best way to reduce your chance of getting norovirus is by following some simple tips.

 

Stop the Spread of Norovirus:

 

Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.

Stay home when you are sick

 

Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces

Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a the bleach product provided by housekeeping.