Tips to avoid spreading the stomach bug
If it’s not one virus, it’s another, and right now, it’s the stomach bug. A Baylor College of Medicine infectious diseases expert gives tips on avoiding spreading the virus in the household and beyond.
“Norovirus, or the stomach bug, is highly contagious and spreads between people readily,” said Dr. Jill Weatherhead, assistant professor of pediatrics - tropical medicine and infectious diseases at Baylor.
The stomach bug usually is associated with vomiting and diarrhea. It is spread through ingestion of viral particles from contaminated surfaces, food or water, Weatherhead said.
She suggests the following steps to help stop the spread of the virus:
- Wash your hands regularly, including before and after preparing or eating food and after touching surfaces in public spaces.
- Wipe down surfaces with bleach products – antibacterial products will not do in this case. Be sure to carefully read instructions to ensure safety before using any bleach products.
- Identify anything in the home that may be contaminated and wash it thoroughly.
- If you are sick, stay home and stay away from others. Wash your hands regularly, even after symptoms have subsided.
Norovirus is not a respiratory virus thus masking isn’t required but Weatherhead said it is important to avoid touching your mouth before washing your hands.
One of the biggest risks when dealing with the stomach bug is dehydration, so Weatherhead said to make sure to stay hydrated and get rest. Signs of dehydration include decreased urination and feeling dizzy when standing up.
The stomach bug is a fairly short-lived concern, and symptoms should subside within 24 to 72 hours. However, if symptoms don’t subside by then and you’re not able to keep any liquids down, contact your primary care provider.