By ANDREA CRISP, RN, BSN
CHEROKEE COMMUNITY HEALTH
Norovirus is a common cause of gastroenteritis-or as most people call it-“stomach bug”. A new strain that was first discovered in Australia is now the leading cause of this virus in America. Whether you are dealing with the old or new strain, the symptoms, treatment and prevention methods are all the same.
“It is the time of year when people are often crowded together indoors which causes it (Norovirus) to spread rapidly,” said Andrea Crisp, RN, BSN, of Cherokee Community Health. “It is important to know that people who have this type of illness should not prepare food or return to work for three days after they are well if they work with food.”
The symptoms of norovirus include:
– Suddenly feeling sick
– Less likely – fever, muscle aches, fatigue
One of the dangers of Norovirus is becoming dehydrated. The disease is very contagious, and a sick person is contagious for three days after they get better. There is no vaccine to prevent Norovirus, and a person can get it more than one time.
To help prevent Norovirus it is important to wash your hands with soap and water, wash raw fruits and vegetables before eating them, cook oysters and shellfish, clean surfaces where sick people may have touched with a bleach solution (one part bleach to ten parts water), and do not prepare food or work with food if you have been sick for at least three days after you are better.
Call Cherokee Community Health 554-6882 for more information or your contact healthcare provider.