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It’s the time of year when people start to get sick, signaling the rotation of many viral illnesses. Whether or not you have children in school, it’s important to be aware of the prevalence of this illness to protect yourself best and those around you.
Gastrointestinal issues happen to everyone at some point in their lives, and they don’t always suggest the presence of a virus. This can make it difficult to determine whether or not to stay home from work or school.
Signs to stay home
We can’t always know the difference between norovirus and other things that can upset the stomach, such as food poisoning. However, Dr. Paul Levy, a general surgeon, says there are some telltale signs that you should stay home.
- If you have been around other sick people, whether its friends, neighbors, or your kids, it’s a good idea to stay home. Noroviruses are highly contagious and can affect people of all ages, so if you have been around another sick person and begin to feel ill, it’s more likely than not that you are contagious.
- If you have a fever, stay home. “Most run-of-the-mill, feeling off that day type of stomach discomfort won’t have a fever with it,” Dr. Levy says.
- If stomach pain, nausea, or diarrhea developed over a very short period, you’re likely dealing with a viral infection, which means calling in sick.
Looking for these three signs as back-to-school season and the winter months are upon us is the best way to determine if you are too sick to go to work.
“Most of these short-term, recoverable events just happen,” Dr. Levy says. When they do happen, the best way to protect others from the virus is to stay home and heal, which is especially important when working with patients.
And, remember, to avoid norovirus and other illnesses, always wash your hands.
“Almost all of these things are spread by hands, so it’s important to keep them clean,” Dr. Levy says. “Handwashing is one of the strongest prevention methods.”
If you are experiencing persistent gastrointestinal issues and cannot keep liquids down or have a fever for more than 24 hours, seek medical attention to avoid dehydration.
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