“This is what is so ingenious about the norovirus — the unpleasant side effects of the immune reaction cause you to spread it,” he said. “Worse still, the virus is hardy, so it can last on surfaces for a couple of days, waiting to infect someone new.”
Even though the symptoms only last three or four days, a person can still transmit norovirus for around another 48 hours.
“The best option for staying healthy, of course, is to not be exposed to norovirus in the first place,” he said. “But if you or a loved one gets sick, isolation and common sense are the best ways to stop the spread.”
• Those who are ill or have recently been ill should not prepare food or care for others, because the virus can still be passed on.
• Wash hands frequently with hot, soapy water and supplement with hand sanitizer.
• Clean and disinfect all surfaces, especially in the bathroom, with chlorine bleach solution of five or more tablespoons of bleach per gallon of water.
• Wash produce and thoroughly cook shellfish.
• Wash laundry thoroughly and wear rubber or disposable gloves to handle soiled items, then wash hands immediately afterward.
“If it sounds like hard work, that's because it is,” Prescott said. “But as difficult as it may be, it's preferable to contracting the norovirus or passing it on to family members or co-workers.”
Greg Elwell is a public affairs specialist with Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
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Norovirus begins like most viruses — you inhale it or eat it or rub it into your eyes without even knowing. Once it's in the system, the virus moves to your small intestine and hijacks cells, forcing them to replicate the virus.”