Ask Dr. Nandi: Can you prevent norovirus spreading through schools?

(WXYZ) - Norovirus is spreading rapidly through local schools.

Norovirus is very contagious and causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. It’s easily spread in places like schools and daycare centers but anyone can pick up norovirus by ingesting small amounts of stool or fluid from an infected person.

It’s easily passed by sharing foods or utensils. Or touching surfaces or objects that are contaminated with the virus.

There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection.  To help prevent infection, I recommend proper hand hygiene, disinfecting busy areas, not cooking food or caring for others when sick, and immediately washing laundry once it’s been soiled with vomit or feces.

For most healthy kids, the illness usually passes in a few days. You should see your doctor if diarrhea doesn’t stop within several days or if you experience bloody stools, severe abdominal pain or dehydration. There are no drugs to treat this so taking care of sick kids or yourself is very important.  Here are my prescriptions:

Partha’s RX

  1. Drink plenty of fluids and avoid sugary drinks. Oral rehydration fluids like Pedialyte are the most helpful if feeling mildly dehydrated.
  2. Watch for dehydration.  It can lead to serious problems and may require hospitalization.
  3. Stay home and get lots of rest.  You’ll lessen the spread of the virus, and give your body a chance to recover.
  4. Make sure everyone washes their hands.  Soap and water is best, followed by alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

You’re contagious when you’re sick and during the first couple days after recovery. Symptoms to watch out for include nausea, diarrhea, low-grade fever, vomiting and muscles pain.  

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