Norovirus is one of the most common viruses in America and the average American will fall ill to it five times in their lifetime.
South Vienna Elementary and Middle schools have been affected by the virus, as school officials said more than 100 students were out sick Wednesday with the highly contagious virus, which led them to close the school Thursday and again Friday.
Here are 5 things you should know about the Norovirus.
1. Origin: The origins of the Norovirus is actually tied to Ohio. The first outbreak of the virus happened in 1972, roughly 50 miles southwest of Cleveland in the town of Norwalk. After the outbreak, the virus was called the Norwalk Virus. The peak time for the viurs is November through April as people are indoors more due to the cold, winter months.
2. Symptoms: The virus causes the intestines and stomach to get inflamed, resulting in stomach pain, nausea, vomitting and diarrhea. Other symptoms include fever, headache and body aches. People tend to develop symptoms within 12 to 48 hours after being exposed.
3. Transmission: You can catch the Norovirus by eating contaminated foods or touching a contaminated object or surface then touching your nose, mouth or eyes. You can also contract the virus from sharing utensils, shaking hands, or close contact with another infected person.
4. Treatment: Because it is a viral infection, antibiotics won’t work. One of the possible complications from Norovirus is dehydration due to the loss of fluids from vomitting and diarrhea. Keeping yourself hydrated in critical in the recovery from Norovirus.
5. Prevention: Doctors stress proper hygiene, specifically by washing your hands thoroughly after eating, cooking and handling a baby. Thoroughly rinse fruits, vegetables and seafood prior to preparation. If you have the Norovirus, don’t cook for others as you can spread the virus. Also, clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.