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Norovirus on the way!

A man sitting on a bed suffering from stomach ache and keeping his other hand on his mouth.
A norovirus epidemic is on the way and cases are increasing in Ostrobothnia. Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that causes an infection of the gastrointestinal tract.

Infection can occur

  • directly from person to person
  • via water or food contaminated with the virus
  • via contaminated contact surfaces
  • via the air in case of vomiting

A person infected with norovirus can spread the virus even before they start showing symptoms. Norovirus is abundantly secreted in the faeces and vomit of an infected person. The virus can remain contagious on surfaces and elsewhere in the environment for a long time.

The incubation period for a norovirus infection is usually 12–48 hours. Symptoms can start from a few hours to a few days after infection. Typical symptoms are sudden nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhoea and sometimes even fever. The duration of the symptoms is usually 12-72 hours.

How to prevent a norovirus infection?

A norovirus infection can be prevented in the following ways:

  • wash your hands carefully with plenty of warm water and soap and dry them well, especially after going to the toilet and changing diapers and before eating or cooking.
  • wash vegetables and fruit well and avoid eating raw mussels and oysters.
  • heat foreign frozen berries properly, for example by boiling the berries for 2 minutes.
  • thoroughly clean surfaces that may have been contaminated with viruses and disinfect them with a cleaning agent.
  • wash toilet areas well.
  • change soiled clothes and bedding immediately and wash them with hot water.

Hand sanitisers do not kill norovirus from hands as effectively as washing with soap. There is also no additional benefit from using hand sanitizers after washing your hands.

You can return to work, school or daycare when you have been symptom-free for at least 2 days. It is also recommended to stay at home and avoid meeting people outside the family during this time.

How to treat a norovirus infection?

There is no drug treatment, but an infection usually clears up quickly. However, severe diarrhoea and vomiting can still cause acute dehydration within a day. To avoid this, you should drink about three litres of fluids a day. Half of this amount should be water and the other half juice, soda or milk – depending on what you prefer and are able to hold down. However, it is worth noting that carbonated drinks can further irritate the stomach. Very sugary drinks, on the other hand, can make the diarrhoea worse.

If your symptoms persist and your general health deteriorates so it becomes difficult to rehydrate yourself enough, contact Customer Service Centre or the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department by telephone (Medical Helpline 116 117).

Customer Service Centre

Call us for help on assessing your situation and guidance on our services.
Open Monday–Thursday from 08:00–15:00 and Fridays 08:00–14:00 (Variations between Municipalities may occur).
The number for a care needs assessment in Kristinestad is 06-218 6019 .

Medical Helpline 116 117

The Medical Helpline is a guidance and counselling service for health care.

At the Medical Helpline, you will receive assistance from health care professionals or, in other words, your region’s on-call nurses. They will assess your need for emergency care services or urgent care services via phone in accordance with regional instructions, around the clock.