Norovirus, commonly referred to as the stomach flu,is an illness that causes quick acting symptoms of nausea, vomiting, anddiarrhea. It can occur at any time ofyear, 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 Controlsays that Norovirus is highly contagious. An infected person can shed billionsof particles, but it may take as few as 18 to cause infection. Symptoms usuallydevelop 12-48 hours after exposure and typically include vomiting, waterydiarrhea and nausea. Some people may have a low grade fever, a headache, andbody aches. Symptoms, while quick acting, also last for a short time, usually24-72 hours.
Noroviruses can spread by closeperson to person contact, contaminated food, water, or objects. It can alsospread through aerosolized vomit.
Two Rivers Public Health Department says that one ofthe best ways to prevent infection is hand-washing. If one of your familymembers becomes sick, take extra precautions. If you have two bathrooms, havethe sick person, use only one of them and keep other people out.
Wash the sickperson's laundry separately and dry on as hot a setting as possible. Use yourdishwasher. Take special care with cleanup-- blot up vomit, rather than vacuuming, use asteam cleaner, if needed.
Most people recover quickly, but beespecially watchful of young children and the elderly who are at a greater riskof dehydration due to the loss of fluids. Provide plenty of liquids to replacethese lost fluids. If symptoms of dehydration occur, such as decreased urine orextreme dizziness when standing, contact your medical provider right away.
Take simple precautions, such as frequenthand-washing, thorough cleaning, and keeping family members home when ill.
Formore information, go to www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html.