With at least 25 schools in the area reporting cluster cases of the highly contagious Norovirus, it's important to know the symptoms and steps you can take to protect yourself against the virus.
What Is the Norovirus?
The Norovirus is a type of RNA virus -- the group of viruses that cause human diseases such as influenza, hepatitis C, and SARS.
How Does the Norovirus Spread?
The norovirus can spread by person-to-person contact, by air, and through faecally contaminated food or water.
What are the Symptoms?
"Typical symptoms include nausea, vomiting (more often in children), watery diarrhea (more often in adults), and stomach cramps.," according to WebMD.com. The website also lists low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue as lesser symptoms associated with the virus.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says symptoms will not appear until 24-48 hours after being infected. The good news is that these symptoms typically last for only a day or two but CDC cautions to be mindful of dehydration by increasing liquids.
Unfortunately there is no treatment for the Norovirus, but there are some preventive steps advised by CDC and WebMD. They are as follows:
- Frequently wash your hands, especially after toilet visits and changing diapers and before eating or preparing food.
- Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
- Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
- Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.