Prevent The Contagious Norovirus Outbreak In West Michigan
The Norovirus is a nasty stomach flu that is very contagious and has no vaccine. This virus can live in the air we breathe and the things we touch. NBC Nightly News reports,
The brutal stomach flu, which sends about 70,000 people to the hospital a year, is hitting communities across the country hard — even closing schools.
There are mass reports of this virus from Maryland to Washington State. The Norovirus can cause vomiting and diarrhea with very little warning. One minute you're fine, the next...well, you know. The Norovirus is responsible for 21 million illnesses and 800 deaths a year according to the CDC.
Below is info on how to protect yourself and others from the Norovirus from the CDC.
- Practice proper hand hygiene
Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers and always before eating or preparing food. If soap and water aren't available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. These alcohol-based products can help reduce the number of germs on your hands, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.
- Take care in the kitchen
Carefully rinse fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating.
- Do not prepare food while infected
People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms and for at least 2 days after they recover from their illness. Also see For Food Workers: Norovirus and Working with Food.
- Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label. If no such cleaning product is available, you can use a solution made with 5 tablespoons to 1.5 cups of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
- Wash laundry thoroughly
Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Handle soiled items carefully—try not to shake them —to avoid spreading virus. If available, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling. Wash soiled items with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dry.
You can contract this very contagious virus from consuming food or beverages, touching surfaces or objects or having contact with a person that is contaminated with the virus.