Stomach Bug Got You Down?

There are many viruses circulating in our communities this time of year, such as COVID 19, flu and strep throat. However, if you are experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, you may wonder if the cause is the stomach flu or COVID-19. Find out what the symptoms look like, what treatments are available, and what common household product kills the virus.

What symptoms should I be aware of?

Norovirus (aka stomach bug) symptoms include:

  • nausea
  • abdominal cramps
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • headache
  • loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • dehydration
  • muscle aches
  • achy joints

These symptoms typically last 24-48 hours. COVID-19 has similar symptoms but usually causes respiratory symptoms as well as gastrointestinal discomfort. 

What are some treatments for the stomach virus?

Norovirus is responsible for approximately 21 million illnesses each year in the United States, according to the World Health Organization ( WHO) — 70,000 on average get sick enough to go to the hospital. As many as 800 people die, mostly elderly patients who become dehydrated.  Doctors recommend staying hydrated, using a heating pad to relax muscle aches and trying ginger or mint teas to ease nausea. See a healthcare professional for other treatment options if you have severe symptoms such as:

  • bloody diarrhea
  • high fever (103°F or 39.4°C, or above)
  • frequent vomiting, which can cause dehydration
  • diarrhea that lasts longer than 3 days

How can I prevent the spread of the Norovirus in my home?

Even after having the Norovirus you can still become reinfected. Why? Even though your symptoms have dissipated you are still contagious for up to two weeks. It is important to wash your hands frequently during the illness and even after symptoms have eased since this virus is spread through direct contact (shaking hands, eating foods or drinking something contaminated, and touching surfaces with the Norovirus on it then touching your mouth). Alcohol cannot get through it, which is why alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not kill Norovirus.

Norovirus is resistant to most disinfectants so your typical household cleaners will not clean your surfaces. The CDC recommends using bleach or hydrogen peroxide to clean the contaminated surfaces of your home. 

Hydrogen peroxide works as a disinfectant by destroying essential components of germ cells, and can deactivate a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores. While they are completely different viruses, norovirus and influenza are both RNA viruses, meaning they use RNA instead of DNA to replicate. That makes them both highly mutation-prone, which in turn makes it hard for the human immune system to defend against them. Before disinfecting any surface with hydrogen peroxide, the CDC recommends using soap and water to clean the area. After you’ve used hydrogen peroxide, make sure to leave it on the surface for at least one minute before drying to give it enough time to kill pathogens. In addition, the potency of hydrogen peroxide will reduce as it is exposed to light. For optimal use, the CDC recommends storing hydrogen peroxide in a dark container to keep its concentration stable and effective at killing germs.

In hospital settings new data published suggest that adding aerosolized hydrogen peroxide (aHP) to hospital infection prevention protocols can effectively reduce Clostridioides difficile infections or C. difficile, one of the most common healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), among patients in large, acute-care facilities. Individuals infected with C. difficile can be asymptomatic or have symptoms ranging from mild diarrhea to severe and life-threatening inflammation of the colon. Findings suggest that consistent use of an aHP disinfection system contributed to a significant and sustained reduction in C. difficile rates. Over a five-year period during which the aHP system was consistently utilized along with an environmental cleaning program and other measures including antibiotic stewardship, researchers observed a 74% reduction in hospital-onset C. difficile. (See the full article here: Aerosolized hydrogen peroxide can significantly reduce C. Difficile Infections in hospital settings according to AJIC | Healthcare Purchasing News)

Legacy Medical Sales has a variety of peroxide products available for use in your home or within your medical facility. Some of these products include hydrogen peroxide surface cleaners, wipes, and multiple sizes of Hydrogen Peroxide 3% which kill the virus in one minute. Still not sure which product best fits your situation? Simply contact us for a customized solution to keep your family, friends, and patients safe from the spread of the Norovirus at 1-800-446-7310 or