What Families Need to Know About Norovirus

Norovirus is a very common virus that can cause stomach and intestinal inflammation. This virus is often called the "stomach flu" or "food poisoning," but it is not related to the actual flu or to bacteria that can cause food poisoning.

How do people get norovirus?

Norovirus is very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. It can also be spread through contaminated food or water. People can get norovirus by:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus.
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting their hands in their mouth.
  • Having close contact with someone who is infected with norovirus, such as caring for someone who is sick or sharing food or utensils with them.

What are the symptoms of norovirus?

The symptoms usually appear within 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and can last for 1 to 3 days. Some common symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Low-grade fever
  • Body aches

If you or someone in your family has norovirus, it's important to take steps to prevent the virus from spreading to others. Here are some important tips:

  • Stay Home - If your child is sick with norovirus, keep them home from school or daycare until they have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
  • Wash Your Hands - Make sure everyone in your family washes their hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food.
  • Clean Surfaces - Use a disinfectant to clean surfaces that may be contaminated with norovirus - including countertops, toilets, and doorknobs.
  • Stay Hydrated – Drink plenty of liquids and electrolytes to replace fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea. This will help to prevent dehydration. 

By following these simple tips, you can help protect yourself and your family from norovirus. Stay healthy.