Waco, TX (FOX 44) — Norovirus, also known as the stomach flu has sent people across the nation to the ER. CDC data shows the weekly case average leading into March has already exceeded the peak average in 2022. As families start to get ready for spring break travel, Baylor Scott & White doctors say you should avoid eating contaminated shellfish like shrimp, oyster, and lobster.
If eaten, norovirus symptoms can begin to show quickly. “The food may actually look and smell and taste normal. You won’t get a clue because it has a funny smell to it or a funny taste, but the symptoms are going to be sudden onset of violent vomiting, diarrhea, possibly abdominal pain, said Dr. Marc Elieson, Baylor Scott & White Hillcrest medical director for inpatient medicine.
Elieson says the symptoms can show within 12 to 48 hours. “It is highly transmissible, so if you get the illness, you, your hands, and any of the things that you expel like vomiting and diarrhea, anyone who comes into contact with those items or you can easily contract the disease as well,” said Elieson.
Norovirus is a contagious illness and there is no medicine to treat it. However, Elieson says the body will naturally respond to fight the infection. Elieson says norovirus symptoms can last several days and can affect anyone regardless of age. He adds young children who have it face a high risk of dehydration.
For anyone who catches this illness, Elieson says you’re still contagious for two days after your symptoms stop. “If you have symptoms, don’t cook for other people. In essence, quarantine, not as strictly as you would for COVID, but you want to not let anyone come in contact with you or your body fluids,” said Elieson.
The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District reminds the community to not travel if sick, check travel requirements for your spring break destination, and wear a mask if needed. Elieson adds that alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t work well against norovirus. He says it’s best to wash your hands with soap and water.