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Top Tips for Preventing Stomach Bug

Dec 5, 2023

Top Tips for Preventing Stomach Bug

Viral gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach bug, is a common illness that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It is typically caused by a highly contagious virus called norovirus. The symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and nausea. To prevent the spread of stomach bug, it is essential to take proper hygiene precautions, whether at home or out in public. While many people rely on hand sanitizers as a quick and convenient method to keep germs at bay, they may not be enough to prevent stomach bug. Read on to learn more about proper stomach flu prevention strategies, including why hand sanitizer alone will likely not be sufficient for avoiding the virus.

Ditch the hand sanitizer and prioritize hand-washing

Although hand sanitizers can kill most types of bacteria and viruses, they are not as effective at removing certain pathogens that cause stomach bug. Norovirus is a nonenveloped virus, making it more resistant to pH, temperature changes and some disinfectants, including alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizer cannot effectively kill norovirus because alcohol is unable to penetrate the capsid, which is the protective protein shell of a virus particle. In contrast, viruses such as influenza and COVID-19 are both classified as enveloped viruses, which means they have a fragile shell easily penetrated by alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds is the most effective way to eliminate stomach bug pathogens. Make sure to wash your hands before eating, after using the restroom and after being in contact with sick individuals

Practice proper food safety

Contaminated food is a common source of stomach bug outbreaks. To prevent infection, practice good food safety habits such as washing produce, cooking foods to appropriate temperatures and avoiding cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods.

Disinfect frequently touched surfaces

Norovirus can survive on surfaces for extended periods of time. Regularly disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, countertops and phones can help reduce the risk of transmission. When cleaning surfaces, it is important to ensure you utilize an EPA-approved disinfectant to effectively kill the lingering germs.

Drink plenty of fluids

Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration, which can worsen the symptoms of stomach flu. Drink plenty of fluids, such as water, clear broths and electrolyte solutions to maintain proper hydration. Avoid beverages that can further irritate the stomach, such as alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.

Avoid close contact with sick individuals

Norovirus spreads easily through close contact with infected individuals. Avoid close contact with someone who has symptoms of stomach flu, and if you are ill, stay home to prevent spreading the virus to other people. This includes refraining from attending school or work until you have fully recovered.

Incorporating these prevention strategies into your daily routine will help reduce the risk of getting infected and spreading norovirus to others. If you or a loved one become infected with the stomach bug, the experienced providers at Midwest Express Clinic are here to help, offering comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services when you need them most. To find a location nearest you, visit

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