Few are aware that norovirus ( aka stomach flu) is one of the most common foodborne illnesses in the U.S. Last January, one of our local food establishments had to shut down for a few days because of a big norovirus outbreak. It was a home ground for the virus to spread among the community giving people symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, low grade fevers, cramps and more.
Although there hasn’t been a reported outbreak yet this year outbreaks can happen anytime, is highly contagious and can spread to anyone. It is not something that you want this season, if at all avoidable. So we are going to help you avoid norovirus this winter!
How to avoid norovirus
1) Wash your hands often throughout the day!
Some of the most common surfaces to catch a bug like norovirus are ATM machines, the subways, gas pumps, schools, work and restaurants. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water after coming into contact with one of these can help reduce your chances of contracting norovirus, and also helps prevent it from spreading to others. When possible, disinfect surfaces around you. If you’re at work or school try keeping the space clean at all times.
We know it can be impossible to wash your hands every 5 seconds, but purchasing a small bottle of alcohol based sanitizer can also help, in addition to handwashing.
2) Practice safe food handling
It is important to follow food and safety rules when handling and preparing food. Food establishments are one of the most common places where norovirus can form and spread to others. If you know you or your employees are sick or are displaying symptoms of the norovirus it is best to take actionable measures to reduce the chances of an outbreak. One employee staying home is better than multiple employees being sent home for norovirus.
If you’re handling food it is best to wear gloves and ensure that you clean, wash and prepare food properly. It is also important that you cook foods at the correct temperatures.
3) Treatment for norovirus
There is no cure or vaccine that will prevent or treat norovirus. However, staying hydrated, isolating yourself from others and practicing good hygiene will help your road to recovery if you do happen to come in contact with norovirus. Try to sip water frequently and drink a rehydration drink that has electrolytes. Avoid drinking sodas and juices that have a lot of sugar. It is likely that you can become dehydrated after throwing up so keep drinking fluids throughout the day. Isolating yourself while having symptoms can help prevent the virus from spreading to others. Most importantly, disinfecting surfaces, doing laundry for contaminated clothes and practicing good hygiene will ultimately protect you and others from exposure or reexposure of the virus.
AFC New Britain is here for you
As your local service provider, AFC Urgent Care New Britain can help be your guide when it comes to norovirus. We hope you can stay safe and norovirus free this winter season. But if you need us we’re here for you. At AFC Urgent Care there’s no appointment needed. Stop by our walk-in clinic, located at 135 East Main Street, New Britain CT 06051. We accept most insurances and we’re open 7 days a week and ready to treat you.