Norovirus, a virus that causes stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, has been identified as the source of a recent illness in the community, according to the Clinton County Health Department.
Residents should be aware and should take measures to avoid becoming ill or spreading the disease. The gastrointestinal symptoms described above can result in dehydration and other more serious complications especially in the very young, older people and those with a weaker immune system.
To stop the spread of norovirus:
• Wash your hands carefully with soap and water after using the toilet and changing diapers and before eating, preparing, or handling food.
• Keep sick infants and children out of areas where food is being handled and prepared
• Do not prepare food for others or provide healthcare while you are sick and for at least 2 days after symptoms stop.
• After throwing up or having diarrhea, clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces right away. Use a chlorine bleach solution (5-25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water. Visit www.EP A.gov for guidance) or other disinfectant registered as effective against norovirus by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
• Wash clothes or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool (feces). Wear rubber or disposable gloves when handling soiled items and wash your hands after. Wash the items with detergent at the maximum cycle length then machine dry them.
Noroviruses can be found in your vomit or stool even before you start feeling sick. The virus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more after you feel better. So, it is important to continue washing your hands often during this time. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be used in addition to hand washing. But, they should not be used as a substitute for washing with soap and water.
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can infect anyone. You can get it from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days. If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill and throw up or have diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.
If you have norovirus illness, prevent dehydration by drinking plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from throwing up and diarrhea. Sports drinks and other drinks without caffeine or alcohol can help with mild dehydration. But, these drinks may not replace important nutrients and minerals. Oral rehydration fluids that you can get over the counter are most helpful for mild dehydration. Your health care provider can help determine the need for rehydration.