Norovirus, known for turning a vacation cruise into days of misery for passengers, has been making children ill in Fresno County.
The county health department said Friday that in recent weeks there have been multiple cases of norovirus in schools and childcare centers.
Health officials said they want people to be aware of the nasty virus and how to prevent spreading it.
You can get the virus from a person who is ill, from contaminated food or water, or by touching surfaces that have been contaminated. The virus spreads quickly in places like cruise ships, daycare centers, nursing homes and schools.
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“We hear parents still send kids to school who are still in the process of diarrhea or vomiting,” said David Luchini, assistant director of the Fresno County Department of Public Health. “We have people going to work who are vomiting, having diarrhea. This virus is very contagious. If you have someone who vomits in a classroom, people are going to get exposed right away.”
If you become infected, you’ll probably know it. The symptoms include: diarrhea, throwing up, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache, body aches.
The good news is that the illness usually is mild and brief – but it can cause serious health problems, especially in young children and older adults.
Preventing the spread of norovirus is pretty simple: wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and changing diapers. And wash your hands before preparing or handling food.
Norovirus is a big reason why customers see “wash your hands after using the restroom” signs in restaurants.
People who are sick should not prepare food for others and contaminated surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected. Food workers with norovirus should not work until 48 hours after symptoms stop.
Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral (not a bacterial) infection. In order to prevent dehydration, anyone infected should drink plenty of liquids to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea, the health officials said. And you can contact your doctor if you suspect you are dehydrated.
More information about norovirus can be found by visiting the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.