Norwalk Virus, more commonly known as Norovirus, causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines leading to diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. You know… all the fun stuff! Norovirus is often times mistaken for the flu or food poisoning. While Norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness, many other germs and chemicals can also cause what we call food poisoning. Although it is not related to the flu (influenza), they do share some of the same symptoms. There is not a vaccine to prevent Norovirus and no drug to treat infected people. Therefore, understanding and prevention is critical as symptoms of Norovirus can be severe.
Proper handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs and avoid getting sick. One study found that 95% of people do not wash their hands correctly after using the restroom, 2 in 3 people forget the soap, and 1 in 10 skip the process entirely.
This isn’t good news for the quickly approaching Flu Season. It is the general consensus among health care professionals that after receiving a flu vaccine, proper hand hygiene is the second most important way to avoid the flu. However, they don’t mean rinsing your hands off for 5 seconds and wiping them dry on your shirt. There are easy techniques to follow that will get those nasty germs off your hands.