700 Children's® – A Blog by Pediatric Experts

Norovirus: What You Need to Know

Apr 09, 2015

We are officially into spring, yet we are still seeing heavy virus activity circulating in our community. Influenza and RSV are the most common culprits, but this year we are frequently seeing instances of Norovirus in the community.

What is it?
Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get Norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes the stomach or intestines (or both) to get inflamed. This leads to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

Anyone can be infected with Norovirus and get sick. Norovirus can be serious, especially for young children and older adults.

6 Tips For Avoiding Norovirus

  1. The best way to prevent Norovirus is to practice proper hand washing and general cleanliness. Just rinsing your hands off with water isn’t going to help. Add a good amount of soap and lather up to ensure clean hands.
  2. It’s very common these days to find hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes in public places like grocery stores. Take advantage of opportunities to clean up while you are out and about.
  3. Norovirus can easily spread when it goes undetected. Those who have it may not like to discuss the symptoms – vomiting and diarrhea – but doing so can help identify an outbreak and prevent others from being infected.
  4. When you return from the grocery store, rinse fruits and vegetables thoroughly to avoid anything on their surfaces. If you purchased shellfish, be sure to cook it thoroughly.
  5. Take your spring cleaning to the next level and regularly clean and disinfect surfaces in your home and office.
  6. Wash the family’s laundry thoroughly. This is especially ideal if you or your children are in daycare or schools where Norovirus might easily spread.

6 Tips for Managing Norovirus If You Have It

  1. If you find yourself or your children in the unfortunate position of having Norovirus symptoms – vomiting and diarrhea – please stay home. Give yourself 72 hours after your symptoms before returning to work or school. This will dramatically reduce the chance that you pass the virus to someone else.
  2. As a parent, avoid preparing foods for anyone else in your household if you have Norovirus. While this can prove challenging for single parents, your children will delight at an unexpected delivery from the local pizza company.
  3. For most people, Norovirus will run its course in 36 to 48 hours. Take it easy and try to drink fluids to keep hydrated.
  4. Most people do not require medical treatment for Norovirus. Staying hydrated is the number one goal so seek guidance from your family doctor if your young children are unable to wet a diaper.
  5. Parents caring for young children sick with Norovirus need to wash their hands very thoroughly when changing diapers. A good, soapy lather will make all the difference.
  6. Typical household cleaners and cleaning wipes will go a long way in helping to disinfect areas where the virus might be present.

Featured Expert

Dennis Cunningham
Dennis Cunningham, MD
Infectious Diseases

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700 Children’s® features the most current pediatric health care information and research from our pediatric experts – physicians and specialists who have seen it all. Many of them are parents and bring a special understanding to what our patients and families experience. If you have a child – or care for a child – 700 Children’s was created especially for you.