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.