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Wednesday, March 6, 2024

This Virus is Resistant to Most Household Cleaning Products

Posted By: Advancing Care

Medically reviewed by Marina Keller, MD

Cases of norovirus, the highly contagious virus that causes all sorts of stomach misery, continue to remain high locally and nationally. Outbreaks and cases are steadily climbing nationwide, with a surge in the Northeast. The virus itself is one tough bug as a household disinfectant as strong as bleach is needed to eradicate it. It can even be resistant to chlorination and be found in drinking water and swimming pools.

Here’s what to know about norovirus and how to protect yourself from getting sick.

Ill man hunched over sink

Norovirus: The Symptoms

Norovirus, sometimes referred to as the "stomach flu" or "stomach bug," is a common virus unrelated to influenza. It’s the most common cause of foodborne illness and acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach or intestines).

Norovirus is extremely contagious, and anyone can become infected. Symptoms can include intense bouts of vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and stomach cramps, typically appearing 12 to 48 hours after exposure and lasting 1 to 3 days. Infected individuals can still spread the virus for a few days after symptoms subside.

How Norovirus Spreads

Norovirus spreads through tiny particles of  vomit or feces, commonly through:

  • Direct contact with infected individuals, whether being close to them or sharing their food, water or utensils.
  • Contaminated food or water, particularly if it's prepared or handled by someone who is infected.
  • Contaminated surfaces, as the virus can survive on objects and surfaces for days or weeks, according to the CDC.

Norovirus Prevention

Although norovirus spreads year-round, infections are most common during the winter months, causing about 109,000 hospitalizations and 900 deaths annually in the U.S.

Keep yourself from getting infected with good hygiene habits:

  • Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds after using the bathroom and before touching your face or eating. If you’ve been infected, continue to do so in the first few days after feeling better.
  • Handle and prepare food safely
  • Don’t care for others while you’re experiencing symptoms
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces with bleach-based solutions
  • Wash laundry in hot water

Norovirus Treatments

While there's no specific medicine to treat norovirus, it's essential to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids to replace fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea. For severe dehydration, call your doctor.

WMCHealth primary care providers offer a variety of services to patients at practice locations throughout the Hudson Valley, including the coordination of care with WMCHealth subspecialists.To schedule a consultation with a WMCHealth primary care physician at a location convenient for you, visit WMCHealth Physicians and Bon Secours Medical Group.