Have you heard that Norovirus is going around? Judging by my Facebook feed, it sure is! With that in mind, I reached out to our lovely sponsors at Lakewood Pediatrics and asked them for the low down on this nasty bug.
Short version? People can be contagious way after they’re feeling better, and this is one sturdy virus! There is some good news, though. Read on for that!
What is Norovirus? What are the symptoms and how would I know if I had it?
Norovirus is an RNA virus that causes diarrhea and vomiting mainly, but can also be accompanied by stomach aches, fever, and tiredness and aches.
Is Norovirus different from the flu? Are all illnesses with vomiting some kind of flu?
Even though it sometimes called “stomach flu”, it is not the flu, and has nothing to do with it. It is however, a virus, and not a bacteria, so antibiotics do not cure it
What can I do to keep my family from getting Norovirus or other stomach bugs?
Norovirus is spread by the fecal-oral route, meaning that food that comes in contact with the virus spreads the illness. The virus is in the diarrhea and vomit. Careful hand washing after going to the bathroom, or after cleaning up diarrhea or vomit can help prevent the spread. Wiping down surfaces that may have come in contact with body fluids with bleach can eliminate the virus. The virus can survive the alcohol that is in hand sanitizers.
What should we do if we get it?
People usually come down with the illness within a day or two of contact. It usually only lasts 1-3 days and goes away. It is managed by keeping hydrated with water or electrolyte drinks such as Pedialyte. Those affected usually don’t have much of an appetite, but should be encouraged to eat small amounts of whatever interests them. Prolonged vomiting, unusual tiredness, or bad pain are usually signs to seek medical attention.
I’ve heard that some schools around the country have closed in order to clean after their students have been ill. Is this necessary? How long can the virus live on surfaces, and do I need to use bleach or something special to clean?
Unfortunately, the virus can survive for quite a long time on surfaces. Bleach is the recommended cleaner. The virus is very contagious, so even a small contamination can cause illness.
When is it safe for a child who has had an illness with vomiting to go back to school? How long or when is she contagious?
A person is contagious for a day or 2 before they become sick, and can remain contagious for up to 3 weeks after they recover. Practically, however, they can return to school 2-3 days after they stop having diarrhea and vomiting, making sure good hand washing habits are practiced.
In case you missed it, the good news is that this nasty bug usually goes away quickly, and you can avoid it with good hand washing. More good news? Lakewood Pediatrics does have room for new patients! ALL their providers are doctors, and they can almost always see your child within hours of your call. If nothing else, the cold and yuk season is a good reminder about the importance of having an established relationship with a pediatrician you trust.
If you’ve been thinking about making a switch, or you’re new to the area, be sure to check them out. Their offices are convenient to families in Tacoma, Lakewood, Fircrest, and University Place!
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post using provided information from a physician. I am not one, and this should not be substituted for medical advice. You are responsible for your family’s healthcare decisions. More information about Norovirus is here from the Dept. of Health. We do thank you for mentioning Sounds Fun Mom when you check out any of our great sponsors!