Here is another good reason to wash your hands frequently.

Mesa County Public Health is reporting an increase in gastrointestinal illness in the county. The cases have been especially prevalent in child care facilities.

What Is Gastrointestinal Illness?

There are many types and forms of gastrointestinal illness and in this instance, we are talking about something very similar to norovirus, according to Mesa County Public Health. Norovirus is a highly contagious illness that can last between 24 and 72 hours. The symptoms of norovirus begin to manifest 12 to 48 hours after exposure and can be a combination of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headache, and low-grade fever. In other words, it's not very pleasant.

What Is the Treatment?

Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for norovirus beyond taking care of symptoms. Fluids are definitely important to prevent dehydration but there is no immunization available.

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How Can You Contract Norovirus?

Essentially there are three ways a person can become infected.

  • Having direct contact with an infected person.
  • Consuming contaminated food or water.
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and putting unwashed hands in and around your mouth.

The Proper Response

Anyone who is not feeling well and has been experiencing vomiting and diarrhea episodes should not go to work or school until 24 hours after the last episode, though 48 hours would be preferred. Obviously, it's critical that children who are being kept out of school because of illness should not be attending child care during that time.

To stop the spread of illness appropriate cleaning and disinfection is important using approved disinfectants that are effective against norovirus.

MCPH says hand sanitizing gels or wipes are not as effective at cleaning hands as proper handwashing, and some are not effective at all in regards to norovirus. If you have been in a public place such as a restaurant or retail store, wash those hands just as soon as you can.

We would like to think that over the past year, we have learned a bit about stopping the spread of illness - like frequent hand-washing, and staying home when we suspect illness. The same response is needed here.

 

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LOOK: Answers to 30 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

While much is still unknown about the coronavirus and the future, what is known is that the currently available vaccines have gone through all three trial phases and are safe and effective. It will be necessary for as many Americans as possible to be vaccinated in order to finally return to some level of pre-pandemic normalcy, and hopefully these 30 answers provided here will help readers get vaccinated as soon they are able.