Stomach Flu Hits

It’s always something, isn’t it?  First, we see an outbreak of the regular flu, then I read today that there’s a new strain of norovirus, commonly known as the stomach flu.  It’s going around and experts say there may not be much you can do to avoid it, especially since it doesn’t have a vaccine yet.

It always seems like these viruses are always just one step ahead of the doctors.  This one, called the Sydney strain, is typical – it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and a just general yucky feeling.  But, experts say this one may be hard to get rid of.

Unlike some viruses, Lysol and cleaning may not knock this one out.  Even hand sanitizer doesn’t do the job according to recent studies.  And, it seems to be easily spread.

Allison Aiello, a researcher at the University of Michigan, says the virus is hard to get rid of because it is stable and can “live quite some time on surfaces.”  To make matters worse, you can spread it before you start feeling sick and you are contaminated for as long as two weeks after you start feeling better.

You can help yourself a bit by washing your hands, but Aiello says the way most people wash their hands won’t help.  You need to rub vigorously for about 30 seconds with soap, in hot water and even clean under your nails.

The virus can live in your laundry, so it is important to use hot water and bleach if possible, especially if someone in the house already has the virus.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also recommends using bleach over regular household cleaners to keep the germs at bay.

Aiello said a lot of the spreading problem lies with food workers who often don’t get sick leave.  A Food Chain Workers Alliance survey showed only 21 percent of food workers surveyed got time off for illness. So many come to work anyhow and the virus is spread like that.  She said proper hand washing is a must.

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Libby Pelham

About Libby Pelham

I have always loved to write and gives me the opportunity to share my passion for writing with others. I work full-time as a web developer at UTHSC and most of my other time is spent with my son (born 2004). I love everything pop culture, but also enjoy writing about green living (it has opened my eyes to many things!) and health (got to worry about that as you get older!).