Many of us joke that it's nature's weight loss program but norovirus, more commonly called stomach flu, is a real disease and it can be just as deadly as influenza. According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, this year is a typical season for influenza and for norovirus. You're probably aware of how to avoid the flu and prevent it's spread but how much do you know about norovirus?


  • Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

    There Are Vaccines

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    The Virus Mutates

    That means that this year's norovirus virus isn't exactly like last years. Chances are next year's virus will be a little different as well. That means an annual vaccination to keep up with the mutations of the virus will be recommended once an approved protocol has been developed.

  • Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
    Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

    One Can Infect Hundreds

    The main reason for this is that people often feel well enough to return to work while they are still very contagious. For example, one food service worker can literally infect hundreds of people by returning to work too soon and not utilizing very diligent hygiene practices.

  • Diego Cervo, ThinkStock
    Diego Cervo, ThinkStock

    The Virus Is Hard To Kill

    With the more common influenza virus, hygiene is important and people often use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to prevent the virus spread. The Norovirus is resistant to alcohol, therefore hand sanitizers aren't as effective. The virus is also resistant to many common disinfectants too.

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    When You Feel Better You're Still Contagious

    With a common case of the flu, you won't feel like returning to work until you are actually better. With Norovirus you might feel more than capable of returning to your job. You're still very contagious. It's this extra opportunity for exposure that explains why the stomach flu has a tendency to work its way through an office or classroom one person at a time.

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