Learn How to Protect Yourself from Norovirus
What is the norovirus?
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes your stomach and/or intestines to become inflamed. In fact, norovrius is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Norovirus can be quite dangerous for older adults and young children and is extremely unpleasant for anyone who contracts it. According to the CDC, norovirus causes 19-21 million illnesses and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths each year.
North Carolina has already seen multiple Norovirus outbreaks in 2015. You can stay safe by learning how to protect yourself and your family from norovirus.
How did I get the norovirus?
Norovirus is the leading cause of illness from contaminated food, usually from fecal matter that gets transferred, contaminating leafy greens (i.e. lettuce), fresh fruits, or shellfish. Norovirus spreads quickly in enclosed environments like kitchens, schools, nursing homes, or cruise ships. In the United States, norovirus outbreaks seem to happen between November and April.
How to protect yourself from norovirus
The norovirus can be spread, even after you have stopped feeling ill. The norovirus can remain in your vomit or stool for up two weeks after the symptoms have ended. Learning how to prevent infection from norovirus starts with proper hygiene.
- Wash your hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers
- Always wash your hands before preparing food
- Wash fruits and vegetables carefully – food handlers in particular
- Cook seafood thoroughly – avoid raw products (norovirus can survive temperatures up to 140 degrees F, so quick steaming will most likely not eliminate risk of contamination)
- Food that might be contaminated should be thrown out.
- Do not prepare food while you are sick or for at least 2-3 days later
- Wash sheets, clothing, pajamas – anything you came in contact with while you were sick.
- Wash your hands after handling laundry or wear rubber gloves to handle dirty clothes
- Disinfect surfaces in the bathroom, bedroom, around the couch – any place you were while ill.
Should I go to the doctor when I have the norovirus?
For the most part, though you may be very uncomfortable, norovirus symptoms will be usually only last two to three days. But if you become dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea and can’t keep down any fluids, it’s suggested that you seek treatment. FastMed is open 365 days a year and our modern, fully-equipped clinics are staffed with quality medical professionals ready to help. Check out www.fastmed.com to find the location nearest to you.
Image source: flickr.com