How to Prevent the Spread of the Stomach Bug (Norovirus)
It’s that time of year – everyone seems to be sick with one sort of illness or another – flu, colds, strep throat, and Norovirus (the stomach bug), to name a few.
Frequent hand washing is very important in the prevention of these illnesses. Wash your hands after being out in public, after caring for a sick family member (wiping your little one’s nose), after using the rest room and especially before you eat. If you are the one who is sick, wash your hands after covering your cough, blowing your nose, and after any vomiting or diarrhea incidents. You don’t have to use antibacterial soap; any soap will do. However, you do need to wash for at least 20 seconds – it’s the friction of washing that gets the bacteria and viruses off. If people in your house are sick, consider switching to paper towels for drying your hands, so you don’t recontaminate them on a common towel that everyone has been using. Hand sanitizers are good in a pinch, if you can’t wash your hands, but they may not be effective against Norovirus.
If you are struck down with the stomach bug, do not prepare food for others for at least 48 hours after your symptoms subside. Norovirus can very easily be passed on through food, despite your best efforts at handwashing. Even though you may be feeling better, you can still shed the virus for several days after you recover.
If you or a family member has the stomach bug, there are some extra steps that you can take to prevent the spread. It’s important to disinfect properly. Typical household cleaners and wipes that may disinfect against cold and flu viruses, probably won’t be effective against Norovirus.
Here are some guidelines for preventing the spread of Norovirus in your home: