Winter Wellness: A Guide to Norovirus Prevention

January 1, 2024

As winter approaches, it's essential to arm ourselves against potential health threats, and one such concern is the norovirus, commonly known as the stomach flu. A local restaurant in our community experienced a significant norovirus outbreak last January, resulting in temporary closure and widespread illness. This infectious virus, causing symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, fevers, and cramps, can spread rapidly, making avoidance a top priority this season.

AFC Urgent Care New Britain has created a helpful guideline to ensure you know the dos and don’t when it comes to Norovirus. 

Norovirus Signs to watch out for:

Most Common Symptoms of Norovirus:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea

Other Symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches

Crucially, Norovirus induces acute gastroenteritis, leading to inflammation in the stomach and intestines. Symptoms typically emerge 12 to 48 hours after Norovirus exposure. While most individuals recover within 1 to 3 days, it's vital to acknowledge their potential contagion, capable of spreading the virus for a few days afterward.

Dehydration Symptoms:

  • Decrease in urination
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Feeling dizzy when standing up

Understanding these dehydration symptoms is especially critical in young children due to vomiting and diarrhea, which can contribute to dehydration.

How is Norovirus Transmitted

Norovirus and Contaminated Food:

  • Contracting Norovirus can occur when a person with Norovirus touches food with bare hands.
  • Food placed on a surface contaminated with feces or vomit particles poses a risk.
  • Tiny droplets of vomit from an infected person can spray through the air and land on food.

Norovirus through Contaminated Water:

  • Water can become contaminated with Norovirus if an infected person vomits or defecates in it.
  • Inadequate water treatment, such as insufficient chlorine, is another potential source of contamination.

Norovirus Spreading through Sick Individuals and Contaminated Surfaces:

  • This happens when an infected person touches surfaces with bare hands.
  • Contaminated objects or substances are placed on surfaces.
  • Tiny droplets of vomit from an infected person can spray through the air, landing on surfaces or entering another person's mouth.

Strategies for Norovirus Avoidance

  • Frequent Handwashing: The most common transmission points for norovirus are everyday surfaces like ATM machines, subways, gas pumps, schools, workplaces, and restaurants. Regularly washing hands with soap and water, especially after contact with these surfaces, significantly reduces the risk of contracting and spreading norovirus. In instances where immediate handwashing is challenging, keeping an alcohol-based sanitizer handy serves as an effective alternative.

  • Safe Food Handling: Norovirus often finds a breeding ground in food establishments, emphasizing the importance of following food safety guidelines. If you or your employees exhibit signs of illness, taking swift action to prevent potential outbreaks is crucial. Prioritize employee health, ensuring sick individuals stay home to curb the risk of widespread infection. When handling food, wearing gloves, and maintaining meticulous cleanliness during preparation are essential practices. Cooking foods at recommended temperatures further safeguards against norovirus contamination.

  • No Cure, but Proper Treatment: Unfortunately, there is no specific cure or vaccine for norovirus. However, adopting proactive measures can aid recovery if exposed. Staying hydrated by frequently sipping water and opting for rehydration drinks with electrolytes is vital, while avoiding sugary sodas and juices is recommended. Isolating oneself during symptoms prevents further spread, and diligent disinfection of surfaces and laundry helps protect against reinfection.

Your Local Ally: AFC Urgent Care New Britain

Count on AFC Urgent Care New Britain to assist you in recovering from Norovirus. Our goal is to help you effectively combat Norovirus, allowing a prompt return to your daily routine. With our doors open seven days a week, we warmly welcome both walk-ins and appointments. Handling your bill is a breeze through our user-friendly online payment method. Remember, we accept most insurances!

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