The DC Department of Health (DOH) is reminding residents that the winter months are the height of Norovirus and Gastroenteritis season. Both viruses are considered Gastrointestinal (GI) viruses, which cause people to become severely nauseated and dehydrated. Norovirus is a virus that causes gastroenteritis, which leads to vomiting and diarrhea. Gastroenteritis is sometimes referred to as the “stomach flu”; its causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines and also results in nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms associated with both viruses include:
It is important to remind residents that in addition to flu season, it is also the height of GI virus season. Residents should take extra precaution in making sure they do their part to reduce the chance of infecting others. Although there is no medication or vaccine to help treat and prevent the viruses, the best way to avoid infecting others is by:
Infected individuals are advised to drink plenty of fluids in order to avoid dehydration and to remain home and away from work. Viral gastroenteritis and norovirus are very contagious and can both be spread from person-to-person and by sharing contaminated food, drinking and eating utensils. Noroviruses are found in stool and vomit of infected people, this is why it is strongly encouraged that those not infected avoid touching their mouths before hand washing and avoid having direct contact with someone who is infected.