What’s the bug really behind your stomach flu? Experts provide wellness tips

Every year up to twenty-one million Americans get sick from Norovirus. Often associated with cruise ships and hospital, it spreads easily in confined spaces. It’s forced schools and colleges all across the country to temporarily close.

Often mistakenly called the stomach flu but not related to influenza, symptoms can include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains, and occasionally fever. You can get the illness anytime of the year but it’s most common in the winter. Norovirus spreads through fecal matter, contaminated food or coming into contact with someone who is sick with the virus. If you are close to someone who is vomiting you may get sick through aerosolized particles. If that happens you’ll probably see symptoms within 12-48 hours.

So what should you do to avoid it? Consumer Reports recommends washing your hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling food. Hand sanitizers alone do not work.

Also, if someone in your home has gotten sick with norovirus, disinfect contaminated surfaces with 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water. Wash linens, towels and clothes that might have been contaminated.  If you do get sick, Consumer Reports recommends staying home to avoid spreading it to others. Allow the virus to run its course – usually 1 to 3 days. Drink lots of liquids as severe dehydration can land you in the emergency room. There is currently no vaccine for Norovirus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s