Central Ohio Doctors Preparing for Norovirus
Updated: Friday, February 1 2013, 07:38 PM EST
COLUMBUS- As flu season winds down, another illness else could soon be taking its place: norovirus.
Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, an infectious disease specialist with Ohio Health’s Riverside Hospital, says norovirus is often confused with the stomach flu, because many of the symptoms are similar.
“The issue with norovirus is the symptoms can be acute, severe, and can be associated with outbreaks because it is very contagious,” Gastaldo said.
Lab tests can confirm the presence of the virus, which can spread easily through the air, especially in large, crowded groups.
Gastaldo says norovirus can survive on surfaces for a long periods of time, and is resistant to at least one popular prevention method.
“Routine hand sanitizers with ethanol are ineffective in eradicating the virus from your hands and surfaces,” Gastaldo he said. “The only thing that we have that is most effective is good old fashioned soap and water.”
Norovirus can be hazardous for young children and the elderly due to its propensity to cause dehydration. For the majority of people, however, the illness is not serious; symptoms usually improve within a day or two.
“The best advice I tell people when they have a viral condition , or influenza, or an upper respiratory infection, or gastroenteritis is to stay home, rest, and follow the advice of your mother: hydrate yourself and have chicken soup.”
Reporter: Terri Sullivan
Web Producer: Ken Hines