Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Lifestyle

Getty Images / jarun011

By now, you’ve probably heard that norovirus is going around. It seems to be spreading everywhere, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), right now, the biggest norovirus activity right now is in the West and Northeast. I’m in the Midwest, but the stomach bug still hit me this week. Wow. It was a doozy. Thankfully, mine only lasted about 24 hours, but norovirus can last for longer. So, how do you avoid getting norovirus? Because, believe me, you don’t want to get this. It’s not fun or cute at all.

The newest report from the CDC shows that in the West region of the U.S., more than 12% of tests for norovirus have come back positive, and in the Northeast, it’s more than 13%. In the Midwest and Southern regions, roughly 10% of tests are coming back positive. This isn’t a total surprise, as noroviruses are usually more prevalent in the fall and winter. But, the warm winter that much of the U.S. has been experiencing could have something to do with it. Also, according to the CDC, norovirus is the main cause of vomiting and diarrhea from acute gastroenteritis in the U.S.

“While I think that there is a pretty good trend that overall, throughout the country, the number of norovirus outbreaks have not really increased, I don’t think it’s completely representative of all the different communities in the U.S.,” Christopher Cao, an assistant professor of gastroenterology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told Scientificamerican.com. Dr. Cao added that he, personally, as seen a lot more norovirus cases in his area in New York City, “and that may not necessarily be reflected in the data that the CDC is providing because they don’t collect data from New York [State].”

Here are some important ways to avoid getting this nasty bug. These tips comes from the CDC.

  • Wash your hands really well

    Di you know that hand sanitizer isn’t effective against norovirus? I learned that the hard way. My mom always tells me to slather my hands in the stuff, but it won’t help for this bug. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

    A person washing their hands with soap and water.

    Getty Images / PeopleImages

  • Handle and prepare food the safest way

    The CDC says that before preparing and eating your food, you should wash fruits and vegetables well; cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly to an internal temperature of at least 145°F; and routinely clean and sanitize kitchen utensils, counters, and surfaces. Also, “noroviruses are relatively resistant to heat and can survive temperatures as high as 145°F,” they warn. Also, they say to avoid preparing and handling food or caring for others when you are sick.

    A person washing red vegetables.

    Getty Images / whitelook

  • Fully clean and disinfect surfaces

    Good ol’ bleach is where it’s at. The CDC says that “after someone vomits or has diarrhea, always clean well and disinfect the entire area immediately.” Bleach kills this stuff. Also, when cleaning, make sure to wear rubber or disposable gloves and wipe the entire area with paper towels and throw them in a plastic trash bag. The CDC also recommends to “leave the bleach disinfectant on the affected area for at least 5 minutes.”

    A woman cleaning with gloves on.

    Getty Images / PeopleImages

  • Wash laundry very well

    Any clothing with vomit or poop should be removed and washed right away. The CDC says to “wear rubber or disposable gloves” and “Wash the items with detergent and hot water at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dry them at the highest heat setting.” For more tips, go here.

    Pulling laundry out of the laundry machine.

    Getty Images / LumenSt

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