It’s in our community now, it’s on cruise ships and it’s in the news. Norovirus is its real name although many people call it the “stomach flu”. And it’s no fun.

It’s well known for its sudden onset of symptoms- vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain mostly and sometimes fever, chills, and muscle aches. It spreads quickly, especially in crowded enclosed places, schools, cruise ships, and hotels. Some people shed the virus before the onset of symptoms but most at the onset of symptoms and for up to 3 days after. It’s spread by contact with contaminated food, beverages, and by touching contaminated surfaces such as elevator buttons, door knobs, etc.

It hits fast and fortunately doesn’t last long. There is no vaccine or specific treatment. Antibiotics don’t work because it is a virus not a bacteria. The very young, elderly and people with other health issues are more suspect able to complications.

To prevent it, wash your hands! Keep your hands and fingers out of your mouth. If you are traveling take Oral Rehydration Solution packets with you to help you stay hydrated if you get ill.