Marion County – A rumor making its rounds Wednesday had many parents concerned for the health of their children.
The panic was due to an article that was shared on Facebook from the website of a local doctor. The article stated that there was a norovirus outbreak in Marion County.
However, parents did not realize that the article, published without a date, was actually from 2013.
To be sure, Ocala Post reached out to health officials for answers.
Florida Department of Health public Information Officer, Craig Ackerman, said, “We have had zero reports of any norovirus outbreaks in Marion County. If there were numerous outbreaks in a specific area, doctors would be required to report it.” He added, “However, we are at the peak of the FLU season, which could also produce gastrointestinal issues.”
Ackerman said it is not too late for citizens to get a FLU shot.
“This is the time of year when people travel, visit with family, hug and kiss…germs are definitely spread a lot faster this time of year,” Ackerman said.
He said many people make the mistake of solely relying on hand sanitizer instead of washing their hands.
Ackerman said, “Most hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which does kill germs. But, it doesn’t kill all germs 100 percent of the time. There is no substitute for washing your hands with a good antibacterial soap and warm water. I recommend washing the germs down the drain, and not covering them up with hand sanitizer.”
Norovirus causes inflammation of the stomach, intestines, or both. This is called acute gastroenteritis.
The most common symptoms—
- throwing up
- stomach pain
- body aches
A person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to norovirus. Most people with norovirus illness get better within 1 to 3 days.
If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill and throw up or have diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.
Symptoms of dehydration—
- decrease in urination
- dry mouth and throat
- feeling dizzy when standing up
Children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.
Sources: CDC, Florida Department of Health in Marion County