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Protect Yourself Against the Norovirus

 According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, they have found a drastic increase in the diagnosed cases of norovirus this winter. Norovirus is an ailment that causes dangerous stomach symptoms, and even death in certain individuals. It is highly contagious and, according to officials is spreading quickly in the region. However, regardless of whether you are from Michigan or not, there are ways you can protect yourself from contracting this painful virus. That said, before we take a deep dive into how you can protect yourself, let us look at the common symptoms associated with this illness. 
 
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Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the norovirus is characterized as being a 'very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.' Anyone who comes into contact with it is at risk of falling ill. What's more, studies have found that an incredible 19 to 21 million Americans get sick with norovirus each year. To make it worse, the CDC estimates that an average person will get norovirus roughly five times in their lifetime. 

But, how can you be sure whether you have contracted the virus? While only a doctor can officially diagnose your symptoms, if you are experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain and fever, headaches or body aches, especially 12 to 48 hours after being exposed, you could very well have the norovirus.  

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While the norovirus clears up on its own within 1 to 3 days in healthy individuals, its symptoms can cause, in some cases, severe dehydration. In these cases, it's more important for the sufferer to receive medical attention. Often, the doctor will prescribe rehydration therapy for the patient. 

But, how can you protect yourself from norovirus? Because it's known to spread extremely quickly, especially between individuals who live in the same home or attend work or school together, the CDC recommends that you wash your hands before and after eating, preparing food or using the bathroom. The agency also urges Americans to thoroughly wash their fruits, veggies, and shellfish before cooking and consumption. 

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General cleanliness is also a factor in keeping yourself and others safe. So, if you suspect that you are living with someone who is suffering from norovirus, disinfect all surfaces thoroughly and wash any materials that a person has come into contact with. 
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