“Stomach Flu” Cases Continue to Rise in the Midwest

What is Norovirus (“stomach flu”) and how does it affect you?

Norovirus sometimes called the “stomach flu” is a seasonal virus and the Midwest is experiencing the greatest impact this norovirus season. 

What are the Symptoms of Norovirus?

The symptoms of norovirus usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Some people may also experience a fever, headache, and body aches. Symptoms typically develop 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and last for 1 to 3 days

Is Norovirus Contagious?

Norovirus is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person, consuming contaminated food or water, or touching contaminated surfaces. It can also be spread through the air when an infected person vomits.

What are the Risk Factors of Norovirus?

Some people are at higher risk for severe illness from norovirus, including young children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems. People with increased risk are as follows:

  • Those caring for or that are in direct contact with an infected individual.
  • Children and daycare providers’ daycare settings.
  • Residents and staff of nursing homes.

How can I Prevent Norovirus?

The best way to prevent norovirus is to practice good hygiene, such as:

  • Washing your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Immediately clean and disinfect surfaces.
  • Thoroughly cook all food and properly handle and store food to prevent contamination.
  • Avoid contact with infected individuals. 

Can I get Norovirus if I got a flu shot?

The flu shot protects against influenza, which isn’t the same thing as the stomach flu (gastroenteritis). Gastroenteritis is an infection caused by a variety of viruses such as rotaviruses and noroviruses. Although sometimes referred to as the stomach flu, it is not caused by influenza viruses.

How is Norovirus Treated?

There is no specific treatment for norovirus, and most people recover on their own within a few days. However, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking fluids to replace those lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Rest and stay away from other people while symptoms occur. 

It’s important to take Norovirus seriously, as it can cause severe illness and be very disruptive to daily life. By practicing good hygiene and taking steps to prevent the spread of the virus, you can protect yourself and those around you from infection.

Seek medical attention if you have symptoms such as high fever, severe abdominal pain, inability to keep liquids down, or vomiting or diarrhea lasting more than two days. 

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