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Tips to prevent norovirus infection

1. Maintain good personal hygiene

Wash your hands (with soap) frequently, especially after going to the toilet, changing diapers and before preparing food. Dry your hands thoroughly and do not share utensils with infected persons.

2. Avoid crowded or confined spaces

If you have a compromised immunity or are not feeling well, avoid crowded places such as malls, hospitals, aged care homes and cruise ships to minimise your risk of getting infected.

3. Be mindful of contaminated surfaces

The norovirus can survive for several hours on contaminated handrails, door knobs and toilet surfaces. Avoid touching your hands or mouth after coming into contact with these surfaces.

4. Disinfect your home

If you are caring for an infected person at home, disinfect surfaces such as those in the bathroom with a bleach solution, to prevent the virus from spreading to other family members.

5. Drink plenty of water

Stop mild symptoms of norovirus infection from becoming worse by staying hydrated by drinking water or oral rehydration fluids after each bout of diarrhoea and vomiting. Avoid milk, fruit juices or sugary drinks.

Unlike influenza or the common flu which can be prevented with vaccination, there is currently no vaccine against the norovirus. There are, however, vaccine candidates being developed which may become available in four to five years’ time.

As for now, “strict personal hygiene remains our best defence against norovirus infection. For those infected, replace your fluids and seek medical help early if you detect symptoms of dehydration,” says the Department of Infectious Diseases from Singapore General Hospital (SGH), a member of the SingHealth group.

See the previous page for symptoms and complications of stomach flu.

Ref: S13