Hand washing most important step to norovirus prevention - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Hand washing most important step to norovirus prevention

(WMC-TV) - You hear it over and over this time of year. Wash your hands. And while most of us do it every day -- are we doing it right?

With four outbreaks of the norovirus reported in Shelby County, the amount of time you spend washing your hands is even more important.

As a teacher, Jacques Smith is on high alert.

"A lot of kids tend not to wash their hands every time they go to the restroom and they love to touch and squeeze on teachers," said Smith.

Norovirus is more contagious than the flu and there is no vaccine. It can live for weeks on hard surfaces, even upholstery. Hand sanitizers alone will not kill it.

"There is no antibiotic or viral agent that we can give to make it go away...it's a symptomatic treatment," said Helen Morrow, Memphis and Shelby County Health Department.

Those symptoms Morrow mentioned are stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever. They sometimes last days.

The only thing you can do to protect yourself is ... you guessed it ... wash your hands.

Experts suggest washing your hands for at least 20 seconds. A good rule of thumb is to sing a familiar song in your head, such as the "Happy Birthday" song or "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".

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