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  • Doctors Say Cases of Stomach Flu Are Going Up

    stomach flu cases on the riseHave you ever had to stay home from work for a few days because of a nasty stomach bug that really knocked you off your feet? Well, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus, a gastrointestinal infection that usually causes moderate symptoms like nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea, is taking the country by force. Although people often refer to the illness by other names, like the stomach flu or food poisoning, norovirus is not related to the flu (which is a respiratory infection) but it can cause food poisoning.

    How Does Norovirus Spread?

    The CDC reports that 19 to 21 million people come down with acute cases of norovirus in the U.S. each year. There are several different types of norovirus infections, which are the most common causes of acute gastroenteritis. People can get norovirus repeatedly throughout their lives. Because the virus thrives and spreads most easily among dense populations, researchers typically observe the greatest number of outbreaks in daycare centers, closed population schools, cruises, and conventions.

    There is no vaccine for norovirus. The best way to prevent transmission is to wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Here are some other useful facts about norovirus from the CDC:

    • It only takes a little! It takes fewer than 100 norovirus particles (compared to other illnesses and infections that’s a little) to make someone ill
    • Someone with norovirus is contagious from the first moment they begin to feel sick to a few days after they start feeling better
    • People with norovirus shed billions of virus particles in their stool and vomit, making it easy to infect others
    • Norovirus can spread quickly in enclosed places like daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, and cruise ships
    • Norovirus can stay on objects and surfaces and continue to infect people for days or even weeks
    • Norovirus can survive some disinfectants, which makes it especially difficult to get rid of
    • Norovirus is most often spread through direct contact with an infected person, eating food and/or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus, touching objects that have norovirus on them and then putting your fingers in your mouth, and sharing utensils and/or cups with people who are infected with norovirus

    While most cases of norovirus are mild or moderate, it can become quite serious; in rare cases, it can even be deadly. People with norovirus can feel extremely ill and experience vomiting and diarrhea several times in one day. Because of this, some individuals become very dehydrated. Children, the elderly, and people who have other illnesses are at risk for dehydration and other significant complications related to norovirus. The CDC reports that norovirus causes 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations each year and anywhere from 570 to 800 deaths, primarily in young children and the elderly.

    Ways to Prevent Transmission

    According to the CDC, there are five main ways to stop norovirus from spreading. They are:

    1. Always practice proper hand hygiene. This means always washing your hands with soap and water after using the toilet or changing diapers and before eating, preparing, and/or handling food
    2. Wash fruits and vegetables and be sure to cook seafood thoroughly. Be aware that noroviruses are relatively resistant and can survive temperatures as high as 140 degrees in addition to quick steaming processes that are routinely used to cook shellfish
    3. When you are sick, do not prepare food or care for others for at least 2 to 3 days. This also applies to sick workers in schools, daycares, and other places where they could expose other individuals to norovirus
    4. Clean and disinfect all contaminated surfaces. After throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces
    5. Wash laundry thoroughly. Immediately remove and wash clothes and linens that could be contaminated vomit or stool

    If you or one of your loved ones is ill with norovirus, be sure to drink plenty of fluids to replace the ones you are losing. Although antibiotics do not work on viruses, you should still see a doctor if you are struggling with dehydration. To learn more about the norovirus, please visit: https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/.

    If you have a question or concern about medical care that you received related to norovirus, someone at our firm can help. Contact a representative online now.

     

    Philadelphia Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP, Representing Injured Victims Since 1947

    If you have questions about filing a claim for injuries you sustained, contact the Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys at Galfand Berger LLP today. Call us at 800-222-USWA (8792) or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading, we serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania, including Allentown and Harrisburg.

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