The norovirus continues to trouble hospital and schools | NevadaAppeal.com
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The norovirus continues to trouble hospital and schools

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer

Mary Serio has been nibbling on toast and sipping orange juice since Sunday, after she caught a highly contagious stomach ailment from her son.

Norovirus is usually not serious, but whoever gets infected – as many Carson City residents have learned this week – is in for an uncomfortable one- to three-day period of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

The 84-year-old Carson City woman took her son, Richard, to Carson-Tahoe Hospital on Saturday with the symptoms of norovirus. She doesn’t know where he caught it, perhaps at one of the casinos they frequent or the grocery store.

“His was kind of violent,” she said Tuesday about the illness. “He was shaking a lot and his blood count went way up.”

He spent the night at the hospital and then went home the following evening. By then Serio was starting to feel nauseated.

“Hopefully I’m going to start feeling better soon,” she said. “The thing I thought that’s important to know is that if you get it, you can get it again – be careful.”

You can’t develop an immunity to the norovirus, which worries Serio because her son, who has recovered from the illness, is taking care of her. She hopes he doesn’t catch it again, or pass it on to someone else.

Local doctors encourage those with norovirus symptoms to stay home and recover – don’t spread it around.

The virus is transmitted through touch. It is very hearty and very contagious. The most effective way to prevent the spread of norovirus is frequent and vigorous handwashing. Use soap and warm water and dry with disposable towels.

Cheri Glockner, hospital spokeswoman, said the virus is keeping the emergency room busy, even though there isn’t anything doctors can do about it. Washing your hands well will help more in preventing its spread, even an antibacterial gel can’t kill it.

Several child-care businesses contacted Tuesday did not report any problem with the norovirus.

Dustin Boothe, of the Carson City Environmental Health Department, said those with the virus should wait at least 48 hours after the symptoms stop before going back out into the community.

Marena Works, chief nurse for the Carson City School District, said her biggest advice to parents is to keep children home if they complain of stomach ache, nausea or a headache, because they may not get the fever that often accompanies the virus.

“It’s pretty quiet at Carson High,” she said. “We’ve had some, but it hit harder at Bordewich-Bray, Fremont, Eagle Valley and Seeliger.”

She said an average of 10 to 20 children at each of those schools were sent home with the virus.

Call the hospital hotline at 885-4569 with questions. The hotline phone number printed in Monday’s Nevada Appeal was disconnected.

n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.