January 25th, 2013
With the flu season just off its peak, there's a new bug to worry about. The norovirus. A new strain that first showed up in Australia, it will likely affect millions Americans this year. According a the CDC epidemiologist, "people haven't been exposed to it before, so they're more susceptible" - so make sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, as it is the best defense against this bug. Also, the CDC recommends that you disinfect surfaces with a diluted bleach solution, which is made of 5-25 tablespoons of household bleach with one gallon of water. This diluted bleach solution and hand washing help control this highly contagious bug.
How can you differentiate between the flu and the "stomach flu" (or gastroenteritis)? When you are infected by the norovirus, you will experience nausea, severe vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Good news is, most people recover after 1-3 days without any treatment. However, if you feel dehydrated and cannot keep anything down, please consult your physician as you may need some re-hydration with liquids or IV fluids. As with the flu epidemic, the elderly and children under 6 years of age experience the most severe symptoms.
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