'Rampant' norovirus may strike Carroll area
Did you catch the stomach bug?
Vomit? Diarrhea? Fever?
That’s the advice of the Iowa Department of Public Health, which has identified nine norovirus outbreaks across the state since New Year’s.
“There have not been any reported in Carroll, but there’s probably activity,” said Dr. Ann Garvey, of the health department. “Just stay home when you’re sick.”
The reason: norovirus is notoriously contagious.
And Shell Irlbeck, of the Carroll County Health Department, knows of at least one person who traveled to Des Moines — one of the major outbreak areas — and likely brought the bug back to this area.
“We generally see more norovirus after the holidays, when families are together,” Irlbeck said. “This year, it is absolutely rampant.”
State health officials do not track the actual number of norovirus cases each year.
It is a difficult disease to avoid, Irlbeck said, especially if an immediate family member falls ill.
But here are some tips to stay healthy:
— Avoid contact with people who have the illness, and the things they touch.
— Wash hands frequently, especially before making and consuming a meal.
— Wash clothes and linens that are contaminated with vomit or fecal matter from an infected person, which are the two main bodily fluids that carry the virus.
There is no vaccine or drug to treat an infection.
Those who are infected should drink water to stay hydrated, Irlbeck said.
Symptoms can last from two to four days, she said, but infected people can be contagious for several days thereafter.
“This is not something that is life-threatening,” Irlbeck said, “but if the effects linger, you’re going to get dehydrated.”
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