Winter Time is Norovirus Time

This is the time of year when we not only worry about the flu (influenza) but also about the dreaded Norovirus.

The Norovirus and the resulting gastroenteritis is very common during the winter months, especially in the school setting.  It is highly contagious through stool and vomit from infected persons as well as through contaminated food or water.  It is a very hardy virus and survives temperatures below freezing and as high as 60◦C (140◦F)

The Norovirus causes symptoms such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Low fever
  • Headache, muscle aches, chills
  • Fatigue

Symptoms usually begin 12-48 hours after exposure, usually last 24-48 hours and generally disappear without medical treatment.

Hand washing is the most important way to prevent infection. Wash hands with soap and water:

  • After using the toilet
  • Before eating
  • After touching any stool-soiled or vomit-soiled materials, toilets, or surfaces
  • Before handling food or drink
  • After cleaning up vomit or diarrhea from someone who is sick with Norovirus

Thoroughly clean and disinfect any contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.

If your child is vomiting and/or suffering from diarrhea keep the child home for at least 24 hours after the last episode.

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