Washing hands often can ward off norovirus, the ‘Winter Vomiting Bug’

how-get-norovirus-lgYou may have seen in the news last month that more than 500 people fell ill to norovirus on two separate cruise ships, bringing to 12 the number of major outbreaks of this nasty virus aboard ocean-liners in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That may lead you to think that norovirus is something you only risk on a cruise ship. But there’s actually a better chance you’ll be infected in restaurants, long-term care facilities like nursing homes and in other places where people gather and share bathrooms – day cares, schools, camps, and big events. Norovirus is also known as the “winter vomiting bug,” so it’s a good time to talk about reducing your risk. Continue reading

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A Closer Look At Your Health: Preventing norovirus

(Note: A Closer Look At Your Health airs at 6:50 a.m. most Tuesdays on KBOI News Radio 670. This is an edited transcript of the segment that aired April 5.)

This nasty little virus tends to be thought of as a cruise ship illness because outbreaks on ships sound like a terrible vacation — and that’s when the media tends to cover it the most. But for most of us, there’s a better chance of becoming infected in restaurants, long-term care facilities like nursing homes and in other places where people gather and share bathrooms, including day cares, schools, camps, and big events. It’s so highly contagious – a very small amount of the virus can make you sick. It’s estimated that a person will get norovirus five times in their life.

What does norovirus do to us?

It’s not pleasant. Norovirus causes gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. That leads to stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The virus is found in the vomit and stool of infected people. Other symptoms include stomach pain, fever, headache and body aches.  Continue reading