“While Whiteside County has seen a significant number of influenza cases this flu season; the numbers of cases are decreasing. We are however seeing increased numbers of norovirus and there have been two norovirus outbreaks in the county since November 2017,” stated Beth Fiorini, Whiteside County Health Department Administrator.
Joan Saunders, Infection Control at WCHD added, “People frequently think they have stomach flu however, it is usually norovirus.”
Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and stomach pain and sometimes people might have a fever, headache or body aches. A person usually develops symptoms 12-48 hours after being exposed to norovirus and they are feeling better after 1-3 days.
Norovirus is a highly contagious virus. “The virus can be found in your feces even before you start feeling sick and can stay in your body for 2 weeks or more after you feel better,” Saunders stated.
Norovirus can spread quickly in closed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools and cruise ships.
Fiorini added, “The virus is spread by an infected person not washing their hands correctly after using the restroom. Because the norovirus is on their hands, it can then be spread to food items, hard surfaces such as countertops, utensils, faucet handles and doorknobs that then become contaminated with norovirus.”
If another person then eats food contaminated with norovirus, or touches hard surfaces such as countertops, utensils, faucet handles and then puts their fingers in their mouth without washing their hands, they could become infected.
Like with all infectious diseases, including influenza, norovirus can be prevented with proper hand hygiene. The most effective way of preventing the spread of germs is washing your hands often, with soap and warm water. Everyone should wash their hands carefully after using the toilet, changing diapers and before eating, preparing or handling food.
Whether you are infected with influenza, norovirus, or any other disease that can be shared with another person; stay home when you’re sick. Nobody wants your germs. For a same day medical appointment call Whiteside County Community Health Clinic at 815-626-2230 ext. 1243 to make the appointment.
Whiteside County Health Department/Community Health Clinic
1300 W. 2nd St, Rock Falls, IL 61071
815.626.2230 (p) https://www.whitesidehealth.org/