Healthy Habits: Prevention the best medicine

NC State’s Student Health Center is a terrific resource for your student to know about, particularly this time of year when the flu and other infections have the potential to run rampant. The following are recommendations for staying healthy at State during flu season:

Norovirus, a highly contagious illness sometimes referred to as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu and food poisoning, has begun making the rounds at college campuses from coast to coast. Spread from person to person, through contaminated food or water – and by touching contaminated surfaces – norovirus is recognized as the leading cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain – and dehydration can also be a problem for some people afflicted by the infection.

Though practicing prevention takes some effort in a congested environment like a college campus, there are simple, effective tips you can use to keep safe and norovirus-free at NC State:

Practice proper hand hygiene: Wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet – and always before eating or preparing food. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers may be a helpful addition to hand washing, but they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water.

Take care in the kitchen: Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.

Do not prepare food while infected: People who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms – and for 3 days after they recover from their illness.

Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces: After an episode of illness, such as vomiting or diarrhea, make sure contaminated surfaces are immediately cleaned and disinfected.

Wash laundry thoroughly: Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or fecal matter. Handle soiled items carefully—without agitating them—to avoid spreading virus. They should be laundered with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried.

For more information about norovirus and other ailments, contact the NC State’s Student Health Center: http://www.ncsu.edu/student_health/


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