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How to prevent and treat norovirus (often called the "stomach flu")

You do not want to get sick with norovirus! This highly contagious digestive illness causes severe stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.

You can feel extremely ill and throw up or have diarrhea many times a day. The sickness comes on suddenly and can last a few days. It can cause dehydration, especially in young children. If they become dehydrated, children may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy. They may pee less and have a dry throat.

Norovirus is easily passed from person to person by close contact with someone who is sick with norovirus, touching surfaces contaminated with the virus, or from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

It is important to follow these steps to minimize the spread of norovirus in school settings:

  • The single best way to prevent getting norovirus is to practice and teach proper hand washing.
  • Stay at home when ill.
  • Do not attend school, activities or work until 24 hours after symptoms are gone.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water. Always wash hands after using the toilet, and before eating or preparing food.
  • Do not share or prepare food until 72 hours after symptoms are gone.
  • Wash contaminated clothes and linens in hot water. Machine dry thoroughly.
  • Immediately clean and disinfect contaminated (with vomit or diarrhea) surfaces with a bleach solution.

More information is available on the CDC's website.

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