Up to 21 million Americans get sick from Norovirus every year. It is often associated with cruise ships and hospitals. And, the virus spreads easily in confined spaces. Many schools and colleges all across the country have been forced to temporarily close.
Often mistakenly called the stomach flu (but not even related to influenza), symptoms might include vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains and occasionally fever.
Norovirus spreads through contaminated food, coming into contact with someone who is sick with the virus and more. If you are close to someone who is vomiting, you may get sick simply through the nearby aerosolized particles. If that happens, you'll probably see symptoms within 12-48 hours.
So what should you do to avoid it? Consumer Reports recommends washing your hands with soap and hot water for at least 30 seconds, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling food. Hand sanitizers alone do not always work.
If someone in your home has gotten sick with Norovirus, disinfect contaminated surfaces with five to 25 tablespoons of household bleach per gallon of water. Wash linens, towels and clothes that might have been contaminated. If you do get sick, Consumer Reports recommends staying home to avoid spreading it to others. Allow the virus to run its course - usually one to three days. Drink lots of liquids, as severe dehydration can land you in the emergency room. There is no vaccine for Norovirus.