Reducing Norovirus Risk

Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis, (aka, “the stomach bug”). It is very contagious and spreads quickly. There are plenty of things you can do to reduce your risk of getting it or spreading it if you have it.

Here are some of the best tips to reduce your risk:

  • Wash hands at least 30 seconds in hot, soapy water. Be sure to get under the fingernails too. Don’t just casually wash them; wash them like you’re on a mission to get as many germs off your skin as possible.
  • Wash your hands after your use the bathroom (every time) or change a diaper.
  • Wash your hands before you handle food or eat food.
  • Wash your hands when you get home from work, school, the store, visiting people, and so on. There are germs lingering on many surfaces.
  • Cook shelled fish thoroughly. Use a food thermometer to be sure food is cooked to the correct temperature internally.
  • Clean and disinfect any clothes or items that vomit or feces come into contact with, such as clothes, bedding, toys, the carpet, couch, bed, etc.
  • Clean and disinfect washable surfaces in high risk areas, like counters, toilets, floors, and door handles.
  • Using a cleaning solution with 1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 quart of water will work to sanitize.
  • Do not share utensils, cups, or food.
  • Have a spill kit handy that disinfects against norovirus.
  • Use hand sanitizer, along with hand washing.
  • Train kitchen workers and food handlers about food safety measures.

If you’re sick with norovirus:

  • Don’t prepare food for others. Stay home for a minimum of four days, as the virus is still contagious even after your symptoms run their course.
  • Drink plenty of fluids and watch for dehydration.
  • Especially monitor babies, young children, and the elderly for signs of dehydration, including a decrease in urination, lethargy, lack of tears or sweat, and dry mouth.
  • Give babies and young children Pedialyte, along with water to hydrate.
  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and hot for 30 seconds water after using the restroom and before eating food.
  • Remember that you are highly contagious, so take extra precaution so that you don’t infect others.
  • Of course, there’s no guarantee that preventative measures will keep you from getting norovirus, but if you heed these tips, your chances will be much lower.