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Norovirus takes over the US

Norovirus seen from a microscope (Flickr)

January brings cold weather, and dry air. It also is the perfect time for sickness to sneak up on students and keep them from school and work.

On Jan. 9 800 students from St. Charles East High School called out of school with symptoms of the stomach flu (Norovirus). At 2 p.m. students who did attend school were released and school was not to begin until Jan. 11.

On Jan. 17 it was confirmed that it was an indeed an outbreak of the Norovirus.

“The Norovirus is most potent, easily transmittable, in long term facilities like nursing homes and sometimes schools,” HHS nurse Donna Kunz said.

Kunz is well aware of the nearby Norovirus outbreak and is working with the McHenry County Health Department weekly.

“I have to fill out a form and file it with the health department,” Kunz said. “I run a survey of how many kids are absent due to the symptoms and how they relate.”

According to the McHenry County Department of health, the Norovirus involves nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Lower fevers and fatigue can also take place.

The Norovirus is very common in the winter, however this January the illness is striking areas down like dominoes.

“I’ve seen a lot of people with stuffy and runny noses,” senior Danielle Katz said. “I know those are symptoms of the flu but I only know one person who had the flu this year.”

Fortunately, Kunz reports that there is nothing unusual with the sickness at HHS. Just normal colds and winter sickness.

“Wash your hands, don’t share drinks or food, don’t touch things then touch your mouth,” Kunz said. “Washing your hands is extremely important right now.”

Hopefully things stay normal at HHS and the Norovirus does not take over the entire school.

Symptoms of the Norovirus (B.Governale)
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