Just as parents prepare for Christmas break they may have another issue to deal with. A number of students from one Naperville elementary school went home with a stomach virus Thursday.
Parents from were informed Thursday afternoon that a number of students went home early with flu symptoms, many of the students were in the fourth grade. The school provided information to parents about the Norovirus, which is highly contagious and causes gastrointestinal illness.
According to the DuPage County Health Department, symptoms of the Norovirus include, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain. The symptoms may also be accompanied by headache and low-grade fever.
Typically, the virus shows up within 10-50 hours after a person is exposed to it, according to the health department. The virus typically lasts between one to three days. Fluids are recommended for anyone with the virus to prevent dehydration because diarrhea associated with the virus can cause a severe loss of fluids.
The virus is a real bugger and very hard to kill, according to the health department. Surfaces that come into contact with hands and food need to be sanitized regularly.
Tips to keep the Norovirus away and protect others from becoming ill:
- Always wash hands before preparing and eating food and after using the bathroom.
- Do not expose others while ill. Stay home until symptoms have subsided for 24 hours.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of diarrhea or vomiting.
- Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.
- Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with feces or vomit (use hot water and soap).
- Clean and sanitize areas frequently touched by others.
- Always wash fresh fruits and vegetables thoroughly under running water.
- When sharing food such as nuts or unwrapped candy use utensils to take the food rather than bare hands.
- Keep food prep areas clean and sanitized.
- When disinfecting using a solution of chlorine bleach, a ratio of bleach to water of 1:10 dilution is the recommended strength to kill the virus.
Source: DuPage County Health Department