Health Tip: Don't Let the Norovirus Get You

How to protect yourself

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(HealthDay News) -- Over the past couple of years, outbreaks of gastroenteritis or Norwalk-like viruses have afflicted hundreds of people.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says at least 50 percent of all foodborne outbreaks of gastroenteritis may be attributed to these germs, called noroviruses.

Among the 232 outbreaks of norovirus illness reported to the CDC from July1997 to June 2000, common settings foroutbreaks include restaurants (36 percent), nursing homes (23 percent), schools (13 percent), and vacation settings or cruise ships (10 percent).

Whether you're at home or traveling, you can fend off the norovirus with these tips offered by the Johns Hopkins University Health After 50 medical letter:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, particularly before and after meals, and keep your hands away from your face and mouth.
  • Every so often, use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Don't share eating utensils or drinking glasses.
  • Avoid eating uncooked food.
  • If you're traveling, drink only bottled water.
  • If you're planning a trip and are over 65 or have a weakened immune system, your doctor may suggest additional precautions.

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