The norovirus, also known as the “stomach flu or winter vomiting bug” has been on the uptick in recent weeks, according to Gina Armstrong, the city’s Health Director.

Norovirus cases occur throughout the year, but outbreaks occur most often from November to April.

Once a person is exposed to norovirus through contaminated foods and surfaces, illness can occur within 24-48 hours.  The most common symptoms are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain. A low-grade fever occasionally occurs, and vomiting is more common in children. Symptoms generally last 24-48 hours, and people usually get better without medical attention. There is a risk of dehydration, and even greater risk in the elderly population, so it is important to drink plenty of fluids.  If symptoms persist or worsen, individuals should contact their healthcare provider.

“The virus spreads very easily and quickly from infected people to others, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk,” Armstrong said.

These tips include:

  • wash your hands often and thoroughly for at least 15- 20 seconds with soap and warm water before eating or preparing food;
  • pay close attention to hand washing when caring for a person who has vomited or has diarrhea;
  • clean contaminated surfaces immediately with a bleach-based household cleaner;
  • avoid preparing food for others when sick and for two days after symptoms stop; and
  • stay home when sick and for two days after symptoms stop.