Accomac, Va – This holiday season the Eastern Shore Health District encourages everyone to keep healthy and prevent giving friends and family something that no one wants for Christmas – the dreaded Norovirus (aka “the stomach flu”). Symptoms of Norovirus can include sudden onset of headache, nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, with or without a low grade fever. While usually a short term illness, 1 to 3 days, it can also be extremely easy to spread to other people. Here are the best ways to prevent getting it and prevent spreading it to others if you do get it.
Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- Especially after using the toilet or changing diapers
- Always before eating, preparing, or handling food
- Before giving yourself or someone else medicine.
Handle and prepare food safely
- Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them.
- Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
- Keep sick infants and children out of areas where food is being handled and prepared.
- Routinely clean and sanitize kitchen utensils, counters, and surfaces before preparing food.
- When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others. You should not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 days after symptoms stop. This also applies to sick workers in restaurants, schools, daycares, long-term care facilities, and other places where they may expose people to norovirus.
Clean and disinfect surfaces
After someone vomits or has diarrhea, always thoroughly clean and disinfect the entire area immediately. Put on rubber or disposable gloves, and wipe the entire area with paper towels, then disinfect the area using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label. Leave the bleach disinfectant on the affected area for at least five minutes then clean the entire area again with soap and hot water. Finish by cleaning soiled laundry, taking out the trash, and washing your hands! You should use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1000 to 5000 ppm (5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach [5% to 8%] per gallon of water) or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus.
Wash laundry thoroughly
Immediately remove and wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or poop.
- Handle soiled items carefully without agitating them
- Wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled items and wash your hands after
- Wash the items with detergent and hot water at the maximum available cycle length then machine dry them at the highest heat setting.
- Wash your hands again after handling any soiled laundry!
For more information about Norovirus prevention, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus. A printable Fact Sheet can be found at http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/epidemiology/epidemiology-fact-sheets/norovirus-infection/. You can also visit http://www.vdh.virginia.gov/ for more timely topics!