Responding to our posts on norovirus, a reader on Facebook asks:

Any other tips the doctors are giving besides try to wash your hands and kids’ hands like crazy?


Especially since alcohol-based hand-sanitizers appear to be ineffective in preventing this very contagious gastrointestinal virus, hand-washing with soap and water remains the key.  Here are some other suggestions:

  • Be mindful that we share germs by sharing objects — doorknobs and handles, faucets, TV remote controls and telephones, pencils and keyboards, books and newspapers, steering wheels, toilets, etc.
  • If you are sick, stay away from work and school.  Stay home, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and be patient.  You probably won’t get as sick and you will recover faster if you stay at home.
  • If you are sick, isolate yourself from those you live with.  Confine yourself to a room away from others who are healthy.  Outside of that space, try not to touch anything!
  • Since norovirus can be spread through contamination of food, clean all produce thoroughly before preparing it for eating.  Check expiration dates on all fresh foods, especially meats.  Remember that the more processed a food is, the more it is handled by humans.  Keep kitchen surfaces uncluttered and clean.
  • Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst.  Any gastrointestinal illness is ugly.  Norovirus seems to cause rather severe illness.  Pedialyte can be an effective rehydration beverage for young children, though trying to feed through an intestinal illness (by continuing to breastfeed a sick baby, for example) is usually preferred.  Call your pediatrician if your child is acting particularly ill, or  if they are being overwhelmed by repeated bouts of vomiting or diarrhea.


Be careful out there!  And, good luck!