While cases may be dwindling compared to what doctors saw in the winter, Norovirus is still highly contagious and can knock patients down for three to five days, says Dr. Samuel Zuckerman, a pediatric critical care physician at North Central Baptist Hospital.
Anyone can catch the stomach virus from just about anywhere.
Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and severe cramping.
“A lot of small children are admitted to the hospital mistakenly with appendicitis because the cramping can be so severe,” said Zuckerman.
You can catch the virus from someone else or from touching or eating something that is contaminated.
And unlike many other viruses, wiping down surfaces won’t always keep you from catching it.
“It stays alive on surfaces for quite a while,” Zuckerman said. “Its not a virus that dies easily by cleaning the surfaces like some of the other viruses are. It really takes bleach to kill this virus."
To prevent infection, you’ll need more than just hand sanitizer. Zuckerman recommends washing your hands with soap and water for at least one minute at a time.
“Any time you go to the bathroom you need to do it. Any time you’re handling food you need to do it,” he said. “If you’re ill, you need to avoid fixing food for your family."
And here’s a method of prevention you might not have thought of: cleaning the bottom of your shoes. Zuckerman says viruses can easily be picked up on shoes and then transferred to the hands.
If you do catch Norovirus, treatment options are mostly supportive measures like staying hydrated and, if you can eat, avoiding foods that bother the stomach.
If your case is severe enough to require hospital treatment, hydration can be restored using an IV until vomiting stops.