How Can I Help to Prevent Norovirus?

Anyone can be infected with norovirus and get sick. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Take time to learn the best ways to help prevent norovirus.

Page updated on May 17, 2017 at 12:15 PM

Practice Proper Hand Hygiene

Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water, especially: 

    • After using the toilet 
    • After changing diapers  
    • Before eating or preparing food 

Stay Home When You Are Sick 

If you or your child have symptoms of norovirus (stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, sometimes with a fever), stay home! You or your child should be free of all symptoms for at least 24 hours before returning to work or school. If you work as a food handler or work in healthcare or in a daycare, do not return to work until 3 days (72 hours) after symptoms have resolved. 

Do Not Prepare Food While Infected – Wait 3 Days 

People with norovirus illness should not prepare food for others while they have symptoms. They should not prepare food for others until 3 days after symptoms have resolved.  

Clean and Disinfect Contaminated Surfaces 

Norovirus is extremely hardy, and can live on surfaces for days to weeks.   

Standard household cleaners do NOT kill norovirus. If someone has been ill with vomiting or diarrhea, wipe down all surfaces with either 

  • A 10% bleach solution – that is, 1 part bleach (household bleach, unscented) and 9 parts water, or 
  • A cleaning product that specifically states that it is effective against or disinfects “Norwalk virus” or “norovirus”  

For more information about disinfectants effective against norovirus, see EPA’s list of Registered Antimicrobial Products Effective Against Norovirus (Norwalk-like virus). 

 Note: Please keep all cleaning products out of the reach of children. 

Wash Laundry Thoroughly 

Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with vomit or stool. Handle soiled items carefully, without agitating them, to avoid spreading the virus. If available, wear rubber or disposable gloves while handling soiled clothing or linens. Wash your hands after handling. The items should be washed with detergent at the maximum available cycle length and then machine dried. 

Where Can I Get More Information About Norovirus?  

Read the Virginia Department of Health’s Norovirus Fact Sheet  

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Norovirus Webpage