How Norovirus spreads at home

When contending with norovirus at home, educating yourself on how the virus spreads so you can take precaution can save others in the household from experiencing the virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it only takes as little as 10 viral particles of norovirus to infect another person, so cleaning and disinfecting the home properly will be vital in keeping a family outbreak from occurring.

How it spreads

There are a variety of ways norovirus can spread at home. Keep in mind that one vomit episode can eject over 300,000 tiny viral particles through the air, causing viral droplets of norovirus to land just about anywhere. So when Tommy vomits into his “bucket” while sitting on the couch watching television, you may think that the virus is contained to that bucket, but in reality there will be microscopic particles hurling through the air landing on things like the remote, toys, tables, carpet, and so on. So when Dad gets home and grabs that remote, if it has not been cleaned and disinfected, Dad may indeed get norovirus as well.

Tops ways norovirus is spread at home:

  • Not washing contaminated laundry right away or in hot water. You must handle contaminated clothing right away, carefully removing and putting in the washer. If you shake the clothing or linens, the virus can spread, so be gentle. You must launder with hot water and detergent, preferable using a long cycle. Then, dry in dryer on high heat.
  • Not washing hands and then preparing food. Norovirus is spread through the fecal-oral route. Norovirus thrives in the digestive tract, so it is found in feces (poop) readily. Essentially, if someone has norovirus, uses the bathroom to defecate (have a bowel movement), and does not wash his hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water, he can then spread norovirus by leaving little norovirus germs on anything he touches, where someone else can pick them up.
  • Not cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and objects. Many people think that simply wiping off surfaces like the couch, carpet, table, floor, etc. with a rag and hot, soapy water will be enough to contain norovirus. This is not true. Yes, you must clean the area (entire room) with hot, soapy water, but you must also disinfect the area to keep norovirus from spreading. Hot water is great for eliminating some germs, but norovirus is a resistant, tricky little bugger. This is why you must use a strong disinfectant to go about your cleaning.
  • Sharing dishes, utensils, cups. Norovirus can spread at home if the infected person shares dishes, utensils, cups, straws, cigarettes, and so on. There is the chance that the person who has norovirus could have germs on his hand and those germs can get on everything he uses.
  • Letting the person infected with norovirus prepare food. Even with a good hand washing, there’s still a chance norovirus could spread this way.

If you educate yourself on norovirus and follow proper protocol for norovirus clean up, your chances of having it spread at home will decrease significantly.