By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

The Douglas County Health Department (DCHD) is urging people to take extra precautions to avoid getting sick from norovirus as officials report an increase in norovirus outbreaks this spring.


DCHD has investigated five outbreaks of norovirus, often wrongly referred to as “the stomach flu,” at long-term care facilities and daycare operations. The county has seen 82 cases of norovirus so far this year compared to 45 last year at this time.

“While norovirus is rarely fatal, it can be extremely hard on the very young and the elderly,” Health Director Dr. Adi Pour said. “Dehydration is one of the big concerns.”

Symptoms of norovirus include violent vomiting and diarrhea, nausea, and stomach pain, often with a rapid onset. Body aches may accompany the disease which usually appears 12 to 36 hours after exposure to the virus. Bleach-based disinfectants are recommended for clean-up.

The best ways to prevent yourself from getting norovirus are to carefully wash your hands with soap and water – especially before handling food and after changing diapers or using the restroom.

Avoid preparing food for others when you are sick; and wash laundry thoroughly, especially if it may be contaminated with vomit or feces. Surfaces can be contaminated and may need to be sanitized to avoid spreading norovirus, and you should stay home for two days after the symptoms appear.

People generally recover from norovirus in two or three days, but anyone who has experienced norovirus knows it is something to be avoided.