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How Long Can Norovirus Live on Surfaces?

Posted in Norovirus on September 30, 2022

Norovirus is a common foodborne illness that leads to gastroenteritis, causing symptoms similar to the stomach flu. There are multiple ways to contract norovirus, but a primary source is eating food or drinking liquids that have become contaminated with the virus. Anyone can get norovirus, and it can shockingly live on surfaces for up to four weeks.

Preventing Norovirus and Food Safety Tips

Approximately 60 percent of food-borne illnesses are caused by norovirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To protect yourself, cleanliness and following food safety guidelines are critical.

  1. Do not cook food if you are experiencing any symptoms that may indicate norovirus—such as diarrhea or vomiting.
  2. Refrain from cooking until symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours.
  3. Wash your hands carefully and thoroughly, especially after using the restroom or changing diapers. Norovirus is primarily spread through feces and vomit.
  4. Clean and sanitize kitchen utensils and kitchen surfaces regularly and in between
  5. Rinse fruits and vegetables before cooking.
  6. Double check that clams and other shellfish are cooked thoroughly before eating.
  7. Avoid touching your face. If there is a chance that you have touched something or food that is contaminated, refraining from touching your mouth, nose, or eyes until you can wash your hands may prevent the virus from entering your body.
  8. If you are caring for someone with norovirus, wash your hands every time you come into contact with them.
  9. After any vomiting or diarrhea accidents, clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces.
  10. When traveling in areas that have polluted water sources, only drink boiled drinks, bottled water, or carbonated bottled drinks without ice.

Food Safety When Eating Out

Before choosing a restaurant to eat at, check its inspection score. Refrain from eating at restaurants with low scores and where you know the food is not handled appropriately—for example, if it is prepared without the use of gloves. The CDC reports that infected food workers cause 70% of norovirus outbreaks from contaminated food.

If you order hot food, it should be hot and cold food should be cold. When cooked, food must reach an internal temperature that is high enough to kill germs. Similarly, foods that should be cold can reach unsafe temperatures if left sitting out for too long. Therefore, avoid eating lukewarm foods—for example, commonly found in a buffet or salad bar. When you get home with leftovers, refrigerate them quickly since food should never sit out longer than two hours after it is cooked. Use them up within three to four days, or toss them to keep yourself safe.

If you or a loved one contracted norovirus from a restaurant, a norovirus lawyer from The Lange Law Firm, PLLC can help during a free case evaluation.

How To Disinfect Your Home for Norovirus

If you or someone in your home has been exposed to or is experiencing symptoms of norovirus, thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting your home is crucial to preventing the spread. First, make a household bleach solution made of up to 1½ cups of bleach in one gallon of water. Use disposable gloves, a form of eye protection, a mask, and protective clothing while cleaning. Leave the solution on the contaminated surface for 10 to 20 minutes, then rinse with clean water. Wash and sanitize your hands thoroughly immediately after. Then, keep the area closed off and children away for at least one hour while it airs out.