With reports coming in across the Okanagan of people coming down with the Norovirus, Interior Health is asking the public to help prevent the spread of the disease.
Medical Health Officer for IH, Dr. Rob Parker, says there are a few simple tips the public can follow to help reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
“Washing your hands regularly and staying at home for two days after your symptoms have gone are the two most important things you can do to prevent spreading the illness,” says Parker.
He says other tips include:
Washing your hands with soap and water for 30 seconds after using the washroom and before preparing food
Stringently clean hard surfaces. The virus is not readily killed by regular household cleaners, so use diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 50 parts water) to disinfect doorknobs, hand rails and other surfaces
Throw out any food that has come into contact with an infected person
If you are ill, rest in bed, drink plenty of fluids, and stay home from work or school for at least two days after symptoms have gone
Discourage visitors if you or someone in your home is ill.
“Outbreaks are most common in healthcare facilities, but they also occur in daycare centres, schools, social gatherings and restaurants. Interior Health has received increased reports of Norovirus across the region in the past 10 days, and there has been an increase in physician office visits due to diarrheal disease, of which norovirus is the most likely cause.”
He says Norovirus does occur at all times of the year, but is most common throughout the winter months.
“Norovirus is not normally dangerous, but the very young and the elderly are most at risk of complications from dehydration. Norovirus causes sudden onset of vomiting, diarrhea and fatigue. Symptoms begin 18-36 hours after exposure to the virus and rarely last more than two days. The virus is mainly transmitted from person to person on the unwashed hands of someone with vomiting or diarrhea.”
Parker says contaminated foods may also spread the virus.
If you are not sure if you need to see a doctor, you can call the NurseLine at 1-866-215-4700.
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to help prevent the spread of the Norovirus. (File photo: Rachael Kimola)
by Rachael Kimola - Story: 36379
Jan 5, 2008 / 3:30 pm
Jan 5, 2008 / 3:30 pm
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