Even as spring-like temperatures arrive on campus, you’re not yet out of the woods when it comes to shared illnesses that are common during winter.
- Very contagious
- Symptoms include stomach pain, cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting
- Usually lasts one to two days, however, you’re usually contagious for 3 days after recovery
Unfortunately, there is little you can do to ease symptoms. There is no antiviral medication or vaccine to prevent it, and antibiotics are ineffective because the virus is not a bacterial infection. Symptoms usually only lasts one to two days; however, you will be contagious three days after you start to feel better.
Symptoms include stomach pain and cramping, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. You may feel sick and vomit several times a day. Less common symptoms include low fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and fatigue.
If you experience vomiting and diarrhea:
- Stay home and rest until symptoms have passed.
- Sip clear beverages to keep hydrated like water, clear broth, or lemon-lime soda.
- Eat when you are ready. Try bland foods like crackers, toast, or applesauce.
- Wash your hands often, particularly before eating and after using the restroom.
- Limit your contact with others.
When you start to feel better, take measures to protect your friends, roommates, and peers such as bleaching toilets, sinks, and other surfaces that may be infected and washing possibly infected clothes and linens on the hottest setting with bleach when possible. Do not prepare food for others while you are ill and for at least three days after you recover. If you work in food services—such as University Housing Food—do not work if you are ill. Some people can be contagious for up to two weeks after their recovery so taking preventative measures is extremely important.
The secret to preventing the stomach flu:
The single best way to reduce your chances of getting the stomach flu is to wash your hands well and often. It doesn’t hurt to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, but soap and water are the most effective. Avoid contact with friends who are ill. If your roommate is sick, avoid touching contaminated surfaces and sharing food. Try not to touch your hands to your eyes, nose or mouth.