Norwalk virus, also known as norovirus, is a highly contagious virus that primarily causes gastrointestinal illness, commonly referred to as the stomach flu or stomach bug. It spreads easily through person-to-person contact, contaminated food and water, and contaminated surfaces. When it affects a home, it can lead to outbreaks of vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and stomach cramps among family members or residents. Proper hygiene practices, such as frequent handwashing and disinfecting surfaces, are essential to prevent its transmission within a household. Additionally, those infected should isolate themselves to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to others.
Norovirus and Your Home: 5 Ways it Affects Living Spaces
Person-to-person contact: Close contact with an infected person who may have the virus on their hands or contaminated clothing can easily lead to transmission.
Contaminated surfaces: Norovirus can survive on surfaces for an extended period. If an infected person touches a surface, such as doorknobs, countertops, or faucets, and others touch the same surfaces and then their face or mouth, they can become infected.
Contaminated food and water: Consuming food or water that has been contaminated with norovirus, such as raw shellfish or improperly prepared food, is another common route of transmission within a household.
Shared items: Sharing items like utensils, towels, or dishes with an infected person can transfer the virus if those items come into contact with the mouth.
Airborne particles: Norovirus can become aerosolized when an infected person vomits. Inhaling these airborne particles or coming into contact with contaminated surfaces in the vicinity can lead to transmission within a household. Proper cleaning and ventilation are important in such cases.
Say "No" To Norovirus With These 5 Easy Steps
Frequent handwashing: Encourage all household members to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after coming into contact with potentially contaminated surfaces or objects.
Proper food handling and hygiene: Practice safe food preparation by washing fruits and vegetables thoroughly, cooking shellfish and other seafood to the recommended temperatures, and ensuring that food handlers maintain good hand hygiene. Store food at appropriate temperatures and avoid cross-contamination.
Disinfection of surfaces: Regularly clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops, and bathroom fixtures with a disinfectant that is effective against norovirus. Pay particular attention to areas that may have come into contact with contaminated hands.
Isolation of infected individuals: If someone in your home is diagnosed with norovirus or exhibits symptoms, isolate them to prevent the spread of the virus. Ensure they have separate bathroom facilities, and avoid sharing personal items like towels, utensils, or bedding.
Adequate ventilation and good hygiene during vomiting incidents: If someone vomits in your home, ensure that the area is well-ventilated, and clean up the vomit promptly using appropriate cleaning products. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after dealing with any bodily fluids.
By following these preventive measures, you can reduce the risk of norovirus transmission within your household.