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Six Ways to Avoid the Norovirus

01-13-2017

Six Ways to Avoid the Norovirus

The stomach bug —we’ve all been there and we can all agree it’s not something you want to fall victim to.

Every year, around 20 million Americans catch the norovirus, which is the most common cause of gastroenteritis—and commonly referred to as the “stomach flu.” The norovirus can spread through contaminated food, water, surfaces or individuals and (gross alert) is caused by coming in contact with fecal matter or vomit. The illness is extremely contagious with unpleasant side effects, including diarrhea and vomiting. While the illness doesn’t typically last longer than one to three days, someone contaminated can spread the virus up to six weeks after being infected.

While it can be tough to prevent completely, follow these tips from our team for your best chance of avoiding the norovirus this winter.

Prepare your immune system

Living a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle builds a strong immune system, ready to put up a tough fight when the norovirus is going around. Eating a diet heavy in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight will keep your immune system strong and prepared.

Wash your hands

Hand sanitizer is great when there are no other options for washing your hands, but anytime there is a sink and soap around, always use that first. You should vigorously rub your hands with soap for 20 seconds when washing them, which seems like a long time, but is worth every second to avoid a stomach bug.

Wash your food

Purchasing fruit from a grocery store or market means you have no idea where that produce has been. Even if your grocery store prewashes the produce, that doesn’t mean some other shopper didn’t accidentally drop it on the floor and put it back. Thoroughly washing all produce and seafood before eating or cooking adds another buffer between you and potential viruses.

Keep your hands away from your face

As tempting as it may be, stop touching your face. The fastest way for germs to travel from a surface to your mouth is by you touching that surface then touching your face. Don’t get yourself sick by avoiding hand and face contact.

Clean and clean well

The surfaces in your home are a breeding ground for germs, so it’s important to make sure you are regularly cleaning them. A surface is clean until it’s touched again, so cleaning often is the only way to make sure your surfaces aren’t crawling with germs. Maximize your efforts with a cleaning agent like bleach, which kills all germs the first time.

Wash your clothes

If someone you live with or are close with is contaminated, it’s best to clean or toss anything they may have come in contact with. If they keep their toothbrush close to yours, toss it and get a new one, along with tossing any food they may have touched. Wash any clothes or bedding they have come in contact with thoroughly and on a high heat setting to ensures that all germs are killed.

While the norovirus isn’t 100% preventable, there are many ways to reduce the risk of getting it. Follow these tips to keep yourself, your friends and loved ones a little safer from the stomach flu this season.

Categories: Current