Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea and it spreads fast and easy. According to the CDC, you can get norovirus from: having direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces and transferring into your mouth. It is important to know how you can get norovirus so you can better understand how to prevent the spread of such virus.
Symptoms of Norovirus
This virus can be more serious for young children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions. However, people will display most of the following symptoms:
- Stomach pain
- Body aches
Symptoms usually last from one to three days, and they appear about 24 to 48 hours after being infected. There are a few risk factors that may also increase the likelihood of becoming infected: having a weakened immune system, poor food hygiene, exposure to high-trafficked areas, and exposure to isolated living communities.
Preventing the Spread of Norovirus
The CDC suggests that you can still spread norovirus for two weeks or more after you have been feeling better. Here are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- Wash your hands – especially before and after handling food, eating food, using the bathroom, changing diapers, and touching any other contaminated surfaces.
- Handle and prepare food safely – wash all produce and shellfish before consuming
- Clean and disinfect surfaces – take action immediately after a surface has been contaminated by vomit or diarrhea. Use personal protective equipment (PPE) like disposable gloves to ensure no contact is made with the contaminated surfaces. Wash your hands.
- Wash laundry thoroughly – take action immediately after clothing has been contaminated by vomit or diarrhea and wash clothing using hot water and dry using high heat. Wear disposable gloves to handle soiled clothing and wash your hands when finished.
According to the CDC, 19 to 21 million people get sick with norovirus each year in the United States. It is also known that, on average, one person will be infected with norovirus about five times in their lifetime. It is important to follow the above preventative steps to put a stop on the spread of norovirus.