Norovirus cases are on the rise in Wisconsin

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – According to The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, noroviruses are a group of very contagious viruses that cause stomach illness. Gundersen Health System infections specialist Brian Simmons says cases of the stomach flu have been increasing all over the state.

“We’ve seen flu, RSV and influenza or the typical influenza pretty much most of our winter. In the last few weeks, we have seen the increase of norovirus. It’s this time of year that we have a lot of those cases of norovirus,” says Simmons.

People of all ages can get sick with norovirus by accidentally consuming small amounts of feces or vomit from an infected person. It leads to many symptoms including vomiting and diarrhea which could lead to hospitalization.

“It’s very much of a sudden onset in these individuals because of the amount of diarrhea and vomiting that they’re having become very dehydrated. And if you become very dehydrated very quickly, it could be serious enough that you would have to be hospitalized to get fluids,” says Simmons.

Simmons says cases of norovirus normally increase around this time of year because of more contact between people enjoying the warmer weather.

“With norovirus being very contagious and you’re touching surfaces that people have touched that have recent norovirus, it’s an easy way that we could be spreading the virus because of more contact we have with people as we go out in the warmer weather,” says Simmons.

While there is no medication that can help treat norovirus, Simmons says there are things you can do to help with recovery.

“The best way that we do treat for norovirus is trying to treat dehydration before it happens. The best way to treat for that is keeping yourself hydrated with water and fluids that regenerate the electrolytes in your body,” says Simmons.

Simmons says most people who fall ill with norovirus develop symptoms within 12 to 24 hours after being exposed and individuals generally take one to three days to recover.

Simmons adds that anyone who has norovirus should make sure they are cleaning items they have touched, wash their hands consistently, and avoid contact with other people to avoid spreading the infection.

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