Flu season typically reaches its peak between late January and March. There is a lot of focus on Influenza which can be prevented by getting vaccinated every year. The “flu” vaccine cannot prevent Norovirus. Here is a quick look at everything a parent needs to know about Norovirus.
There is no vaccine for Norovirus.
Unfortunately, there is no vaccine to prevent Norovirus. Part of the difficulty involved in making a vaccine is that Norovirus can mutate and that it is a virus that lives in the gut. Some companies are working on a Norovirus vaccine, but it isn’t ready yet.
Norovirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Norovirus causes 19 to 21 million illnesses, 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths every year. Everyone can catch Norovirus. Catching Norovirus once does not make a person immune to catching it again.
Norovirus is extremely contagious.
The moment a person catches Norovirus, they become contagious. This happens before the person starts to feel sick and lasts through the first few days after they recover. Some people might be contagious for even longer than that.
Norovirus outbreaks can close schools and daycare centers.
You may have noticed that your child catches a lot of the “bugs” that are going around the daycare or the school. All it takes is for one child to catch Norovirus for it to quickly spread to his or her classmates.
This can sometimes lead a school or daycare center to close for a while in order to properly disinfect everything. Parents should create a plan about what to do if your child can’t go to school or daycare either because it is closed or because your child got sick.
Here are some ways to protect yourself and others from Norovirus:
Wash your hands with soap and water. Wash thoroughly and often. Wash you hands after using the toilet, changing diapers, before eating, and while preparing food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers cannot kill Norovirus.
People who have Norovirus should not prepare food. If you have Norovirus, and you prepare food for other people while you are sick, you will spread the virus to them. Consider ordering food or having another adult family member or friend come over to prepare food.
Disinfect contaminated surfaces with a bleach-based solution. Bleach is the only thing that can kill Norovirus. Follow the directions on the product label. Keep in mind that Norovirus can become airborne so you will definitely want to use bleach in your bathroom.
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