Prevent the Stomach Bug at UNH

UNH Health Alert - Norovirus aka Stomach Bug aka Stomach Flu

Noroviruses are a group of related viruses.  Infection with these viruses affects the stomach and intestines and causes an illness called gastroenteritis or at UNH known as the STOMACH BUG. 

How does norovirus spread at UNH?

  • UNH students living, eating and studying in close proximity to each other in residence halls, dining halls and classrooms, helps the norovirus spreads easily
  • Noroviruses are found in the vomit and stool of infected people
  • Norovirus can be spread by eating contaminated food, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth, or having direct contact with a person who is infected with norovirus (for example, when caring for someone with norovirus or sharing foods or eating utensils)
  • There’s no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection and no drug to treat it

Who can get norovirus?

Anyone can be infected with noroviruses and get sick.  Unfortunately, you can get norovirus more than once during your life. 

What are the signs and symptoms of the norovirus?

The illness often begins suddenly. Symptoms of norovirus infection usually include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Throwing up
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramping 

Other possible but less common symptoms include low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and general sense of fatigue. 

I think I may have norovirus, what do I do?

There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral (not a bacterial) infection.

  • Avoid contact with others, even if it means missing class, work or a social event 
  • Rest, rest and rest some more 
  • Drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from throwing up and diarrhea. This will help with dehydration.
If you feel you need medical care, call us at (603) 862-2856 to speak with a nurse who can provide you with additional self-care tips over the phone. 

How do we stop the spread of norovirus at UNH?

Prevent illness at UNH, wash your hands.

  • Practice proper hand hygiene – wash your hands carefully with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and always before eating or preparing food.  If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.  These alcohol-based products can quickly reduce the number of germs on hands in some situations, 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 with norovirus illness 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 throwing up or having diarrhea, immediately clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces by using a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the product label.  If no such cleaning product is available, you can use a solution made with 5 TBs of household bleach per 1 gallon of water.
  • Wash laundry thoroughly - immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool.  Handle soiled items carefully-without agitating them-to avoid spreading virus.  If available, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens and wash your hands after handling.