Sing Happy Birthday and You Won’t Get The Flu

By on February 1, 2013

Sing Happy Birthday to You

And you won’t get the flu.  That is, if you wash your hands in hot, soapy water at least 20 seconds.  You can sing Happy Birthday all the way through and that’s enough.

The so-called stomach flu is running rampant through our community and others now, in the cold dead-of-winter. Yes,  it’s happening, the norovirus epidemic for 2013.

To keep yourself healthy, learn what you can about how to prevent it and stay healthy.

The actual name of the so-called stomach flu is:

Norovirus (Norwalk Virus)

Noroviruses are the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis (infection of the stomach and intestines) in the United States. Norovirus illness spreads easily and is often called stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis.

People who are infected can spread it directly to other people, or can contaminate food or drinks they prepare for other people. The virus can also survive on surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus or be spread through contact with an infected person.

Sources: Produce, shellfish, ready-to-eat foods touched by infected food workers (salads, sandwiches, ice, cookies, fruit), or any other foods contaminated with vomit or feces from an infected person.

stomach painIncubation Period 12-48 hours

Symptoms Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea,and stomach pain. Diarrhea tends to be watery and non-bloody. Diarrhea is more common in adults and vomiting is more common in children.

Duration of Illness 1-3 days. Among young children, old adults, and hospitalized patients, it can last 4-6 days.

What Do I Do? Drink plenty of fluids and get rest. If you cannot drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration, call your doctor.

How Do I Prevent It? •Wash hands frequently with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds, particularly after using the bathroom and before preparing food.

•If you work in a restaurant or deli, avoid bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods.

•Clean and disinfect surfaces contaminated by vomiting or diarrhea (use a bleach-based household cleaner as directed on the label). Clean and disinfect food preparation equipment and surfaces.

•If you are ill with diarrhea or vomiting, do not cook, prepare, or serve food for others.

•Wash fruits and vegetables and cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.

•Wash clothing or linens soiled by vomit or fecal matter immediately. Remove the items carefully to avoid spreading the virus. Machine wash and dry.

About Linda Eckhardt

Linda West Eckhardt, is an award winning journalist, food writer, and nutritionist. Her more than 20 cookbooks have garnered prizes including the James Beard prize for the best cookbook for a text she wrote with her daughter, Katherine West DeFoyd, entitled Entertaining 101, Doubleday. Their follow-up book, Stylish One Dish Dinners, Doubleday, was also nominated for a James Beard prize. Their next book, The High Protein Cookbook, Clarkson Potter, remains a best seller after 12 years. That book was designed to accompany low carb diet plans. Her ground-breaking book, Bread in Half The Time, Broadway Books, was named the Best Cookbook in America by the prestigious IACP, The Julia Child award. Her award winning radio work with Jennifer English, for a national show on the Food and Wine radio network, was nominated for a James Beard Prize for a show called, “I Know What You Ate Last Summer.”