Two-Minute Tuesday – What is Norovirus and how to prevent the spread

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is often referred to as the “stomach flu” or “food poisoning”– although it is not related to influenza or bacterial food poisoning.

Norovirus, typically a winter virus, spreads quickly in areas with a high concentration of people, such as schools, hospitals, and cruise ships. Spring 2023 has yielded a high number of individuals who have become infected with Norovirus.

The virus can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps, which can be uncomfortable and even life-threatening for vulnerable populations such as the elderly, young children, and those with weakened immune systems. 

How is Norovirus transmitted?

Norovirus can be transmitted through contaminated food or water, contact with infected surfaces, or direct contact with an infected person.

Timelines for symptoms

Symptoms of Norovirus usually appear within 12-48 hours after exposure and can include vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, and fever. The illness typically lasts for 1-3 days, but it can be more severe in young children, elderly individuals, and those who are immunocompromised.

How to prevent the spread of Norovirus

To prevent the spread of Norovirus, it is important to follow these basic hygiene practices:

Wash your hands frequently

Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of Norovirus. You should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper, and before preparing food or eating. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly

Norovirus can survive on surfaces for several days, so it is important to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces regularly. Use a disinfectant that is effective against Norovirus and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Avoid sharing personal items

Sharing personal items, such as towels, utensils, and glasses, can spread Norovirus. Avoid sharing these items with others, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of Norovirus.

Stay home when sick

If you are experiencing symptoms of Norovirus, stay home and avoid contact with others until you have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours. This will help prevent the spread of the virus to others.

Cook food thoroughly

Cooking food thoroughly can kill Norovirus. Make sure to cook meat, poultry, and eggs until they are no longer pink and the juices run clear. Use a food thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the food reaches a safe temperature.

Practice good food handling techniques

Practice good food handling techniques, such as washing your hands before and after handling food, and storing food at the appropriate temperature. Avoid cross-contamination by keeping raw meat separate from other foods and using separate cutting boards and utensils for different types of food.

By following these simple steps, you can help protect yourself and others and prevent the spread of this virus, keeping yourself and those around you healthy.

Get tested. Get treated. Feel better, faster!

We’ve got you covered!
Knowing your diagnosis means knowing how to recover faster–and if isolation precautions should be taken in order to protect friends, family, and the immunocompromised. We offer Virtual Convenient Care! Speak with a provider from the comfort of your home.

New symptoms? Get tested.
COVID-19 cases are still making the rounds! If you’ve been experiencing new symptoms, or have been in contact with someone with a recent Covid diagnosis, make an appointment with us to get tested.

Get COVID-19 treatment.
Schedule a virtual appointment today and learn about your treatment options.

Still have questions?

Gone are the days of crowded waiting rooms, daunting hospitals, and cold exam tables. We now offer on-demand telehealth services through our preferred provider, Rume Health! You’ll get care on your terms, where and when you need it, including telemedicine, drive-thru’s, and popups – with quick results and trusted insights.