There is no vaccine for the highly contagious stomach “flu,” which isn’t really a flu at all, so make sure you’re washing your hands properly.
Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs, diseases and other conditions. It’s so important to perform this task properly that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a whole website dedicated to handwashing instructions.
Throughout the year—and not just flu season—handwashing can help prevent the spread of viruses that are highly contagious, such as noroviruses or “stomach bugs.”
How to recognize symptoms and tips to avoid infection were outlined in a recent Patch blog by David Clark, Patient First community relations coordinator. Clark wrote:
Despite being referred to as stomach flu, norovirus is not really the flu, which is a respiratory infection. Norovirus inflames the stomach and intestines which causes stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea. Some people may also have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, body aches and fatigue. These symptoms can show up suddenly from one to three days after you are exposed to the virus.
A health officer with the Anne Arundel County Department of Health told The Capital that more gastroenteritis (caused by noroviruses) cases could be expected in February and March.
According to the health department’s website, there is no antibiotic treatment available and there is no vaccine to prevent gastroenteritis. Those infected should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
For prevention, washing your hands is key to keeping germs at bay. In situations where soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol but also warns that sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.