With no vaccine to prevent infection from noroviruses and no drug to treat the infection – which is common this time of year – health officials are reminding the public that the best defense is to wash your hands often. Norovirus causes about 20 million cases of gastroenteritis every year nationwide.
In fact, washing your hands is more effective than using hand sanitizer. But if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It should contain at least 60 percent alcohol. These products can reduce the amount of germs on your hands, however, they are not a substitute for washing with soap and water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC recommends washing your hands in the following situations:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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