Health Department Warning for Norovirus

Lynchburg, VA - No one ever wants to be sick -- especially around Christmas. The Department of Health just issued a warning that Norovirus -- or the stomach bug -- is back here in Virginia.

Norovirus is highly contagious but can be shut down quickly if you take the right precautions. Here's what's scary -- the virus can live for days at a time on hard surfaces, like door knobs. The best way to keep from catching or spreading it-- is to wash your hands, something Little Wings Preschool does all the time.

"We find out something contagious is going on to let the parents know as soon as possible and to keep contagious children at home," said Bethany Hill who is the Preschool Director at Little Wings.

The preschool follows the proper sanitation procedures from the Department of Social Services.

Washing tables down, making sure they're sanitized before children eat- after children eat," said Hill.

According to the Lynchburg Health Department, last year there were 184 case of Norovirus in the district.

"We've been seeing more and indications are that cases will increase," said Haley Phillips Evan who is the District Epidemiologist.

Lately they have seen an increase in emergency room and urgent care visits-- signs they know the norovirus will begin to spread. But you can do your part to try to stop it.

"The single most effective way to prevent the spread of disease is washing hands," said Hill.

"Everyone is susceptible to Norovirus and because there are different strains you can get Norovirus again and again," said Evans.

And if you catch it--

"Stay hydrated, keep drinking fluids, and avoid contact with other people- wash your hands frequently," said Evans.

The Health Department said that it is crucial to keep those hands washed especially if you're traveling for the holidays. They say you will come in contact with germs and can also bring them back home. It is also important to remember when making visits to hospitals and nursing homes for the holiday season-- wash your hands so you don't bring any germs in contact with those who have weakened immune systems.

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