Norovirus cases are spreading across the Valley

Amanda Aguilar Image
Friday, February 24, 2023
Norovirus cases are spreading across the Valley
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A stomach bug is spreading across the Central Valley. Norovirus is not a new virus, and according to health experts, it's common during the colder, winter months.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A stomach bug is spreading across the Central Valley.

Norovirus is not a new virus, and according to health experts, it's common during the colder, winter months.

However, some can mistake it for the flu, which is a respiratory illness.

"It's a sickness that causes you to have vomiting and diarrhea, and you feel pretty crummy," explained Dr. Hailey Nelson, a complex care pediatrician at Valley Children's Healthcare.

Currently, Norovirus is leaving many in the Valley with that feeling.

"There's a lot of outbreaks happening currently," shared UCSF Fresno Dr. Shakthi Kandaswamy.

Dr. Nelson added that the virus is highly contagious.

"This is one where once it affects someone in your family, you know that the other people might get sick," she said.

Dehydration comes with norovirus. Doctors recommend drinking water, Pedialyte or Gatorade when experiencing dehydration.

"If you have an infant, you're looking for the number of wet diapers that they're making," Dr. Nelson shared. "For babies, that soft spot on the top of their head...if a baby's really dehydrated, it actually will sink in."

According to local doctors, norovirus is picked up from surfaces or contaminated objects.

"Enclosed spaces such as workplaces, schools, hospitals, long-term care facilities -- these are the kind of communities where that transmission can happen very quickly," said Dr. Kandaswamy.

Good hygiene practices will help prevent it.

"High touch areas, wiping them down with hydrogen peroxide or bleach is the best way to kill norovirus," Dr. Kandaswamy said.

Dr. Nelson added that hand sanitizer does not kill the virus.

"You need soap and water and scrubbing for 20 seconds," she said.

Most people recover from the virus in one to two days, according to doctors.

However, the virus will continue to shed in vomit or stool for up to two days or longer, which is why norovirus is so hard to control.