Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Why you want to avoid this year's 'superbug' norovirus

Winter always brings the flu but this year it is bringing a superbug that is sure to cause upset tummies from one end of the country to the other as well as around the globe. In Virginia, the norovirus began showing up before Christmas as we joined other states that are seeing increasing numbers of cases across the nation especially in areas that see groups of people in close contact such as nursing homes, schools, and even cruise ships.

What can you look forward to with this year's flu? Some tidbits about this uninvited visitor:

- This stomach virus can hit victims with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headache, achy muscles, low-grade fever, weakness, and dehydration.

- Symptoms come on suddenly, sometimes within a few hours of exposure.

- Up to 50 percent of American could become violently ill because no one has immunity to this new strain of norovirus.

- Norovirus is far more contagious than regular flu.

- 1,000 regular virus particles needed to get sick; only 18 norovirus particles needed to get sick.

- Flu germs can live up to four hours on hard surfaces. Norovirus germs remain infectious for weeks.

- Clean surfaces with bleach. Wash hands regularly with soap and water; experts say hand sanitizers don't work on the norovirus.

Good luck avoiding this meanie but if you come down with it, check out these suggestions for treatment.

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