State Issues Norovirus Health Alert

5:33 PM, Dec 20, 2013   |    comments
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GREENSBORO, N.C. - No one wants to be sick, especially for Christmas. However, patients are flooding doctors' offices right now. It seems like everywhere you look, kids are coughing or sneezing.

At FastMed Urgent care, medical staff members say they're much busier this week than they were last week. They are seeing everything ranging from colds to bronchitis to strep throat. Keep in mind symptoms you might brush off as an adult could mean serious trouble for children.

"Children are not little adults. They have a different set of normal values, so to speak. It's very important to recognize things like dehydration, fever, things of that nature," Physician Assistant Shannon Hanvey said. "If you have the option of washing your hands at a sink with warm water and soap for 20-30 seconds, that is your best option in preventing any type of illness."

The state also just sent out a warning about norovirus. It's commonly called the "stomach virus." It can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

"You can be contagious for days after you've been sick...days before and days after. We very commonly transfer the illness through food, beverage, drinking behind someone, eating behind someone," Floyd Thomas of the Guilford County Health Department said.

Thomas says hand sanitizer does not kill norovirus. Therefore, you're going to want to use soap and water as often as you can.

So far, the Guilford County Health Department has not seen any major outbreaks of norovirus. However, they expect that to change because of all the holiday gatherings.

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