What’s norovirus? Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus. Symptoms include a sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. And norovirus spreads if a sick person handles your foods or liquids—people who contract norovirus can remain contagious for a few days after their symptoms stop.
RHHD Epidemiologist Supervisor Louise Lockett Gordon says that we “historically see norovirus increase during the winter months, and this year is no different.” Help prevent norovirus by following these important tips:
- Wash your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, sneezing, coughing, and before and after preparing food. Alcohol rubs are not effective if your hands are soiled—especially with poop or vomit—so make sure to use soap and water. (Need a soundtrack? The chorus to “Shake it Off” is almost exactly 20 seconds!)
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming.
- Adding oysters or shellfish to your menu? Go with cooked instead of raw options during norovirus season.
- Clean and disinfect counters and surfaces before guests arrive—use a bleach-based household cleaner.
- Lay out serving utensils or keep plates of food separate so guests aren’t touching others’ food or drinks with their hands.
- Encourage people to stay home if they’re currently sick or had symptoms less than 48 hours ago.
- If your friends or family gets sick after eating the same food or out at a restaurant, report possible contaminated food sources to VDH’s My Meal Detective. The information will help us figure out whether a food needs to be recalled or if there’s an issue at a dining establishment.
Find more information about norovirus and advice for keeping your family safe and sound with VDH’s norovirus fact sheet.