In the wake of today's closure of Centerville Elementary School after many staff and students appear to be infected with Norovirus, we spoke with Leann Swanson, a Nurse Practitioner at the South Dennis CareWell Urgent Care Center. Ms. Swanson tells us what we need to know about the Norovirus...
Responses from Leann Swanson, Nurse Practitioner, at CareWell Urgent Care in South Dennis
What is norovirus?
Norovirus is a common viral infection. It can cause gastroenteritis, which is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and Diarrhea. Unlike seasonal illnesses like influenza, norovirus can happen at anytime of the year.
Why does it spread so quickly?
Norovirus can spread quickly by a fecal-oral route, when a person consumes contaminated food or water. This can be from viral shedding from stool or airborne droplets from vomiting. It usually takes 24-48 hours for signs and symptoms to develop.
How can you best prevent the spread of norovirus?
Hand washing is the most effective way to prevent the transmission of norovirus. If a loved one has norovirus, it is recommended that you disinfect the bathroom after each use as well as use contact precautions such as gloves, gowns and masks. This will help reduce the spread of the virus.
Can people develop “immunity” to norovirus?
As children we can develop immunity to the norovirus, with the best protection in early adulthood. But our immunity decreases rapidly and reinfection occurs. Often, after being infected with norovirus, people will have temporary protection for a short period of time following infection.
What should people do if they have contracted norovirus?
If you develop signs and symptoms for norovirus – including vomiting, nausea and diarrhea – you should stay home and remain at home for 24-48 hours after symptoms subside.