Prevent the Stomach Bug at UNH
Gastrointestinal viruses affect the stomach and intestines and cause an illness known at UNH as the STOMACH BUG.
Download and share our Handwashing Poster, available at this link.
How do gastrointestinal viruses spread at UNH?
- UNH students living, eating and studying in close proximity to each other in residence halls, dining halls and classrooms, allow gastrointestinal viruses to spread easily.
- Gastrointestinal viruses are found in the vomit and stool of infected people.
- Gastrointestinal viruses can be spread by eating contaminated food, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then putting your hand or fingers in your mouth, or having direct contact with a person who is infected with the virus (for example, when caring for someone with gastrointestinal viruses or sharing foods or eating utensils).
- There’s no vaccine to prevent gastrointestinal virsuses and no drug to treat them.
Who can get gastrointestinal viruses?
Anyone can be infected with gastrointestinal viruses and get sick. Unfortunately, you can get gastrointestinal viruses more than once during your life.
What are the signs and symptoms of gastrointestinal viruses?
Illness often begins suddenly. Symptoms of gastrointestinal virus infection usually include:
- Throwing up
- 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 the stomach bug, what do I do?
There is no specific medicine to treat people with gastrointestinal viruses. Viral infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is 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.
- Visit and download our Self-Care Guide, available at this link.
How do we stop the spread of gastrointestinal viruses at UNH?
- 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 gastrointestinal viruses 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.