H1N1 and Norovirus Common This Flu Season

By Kristen Tripodi

Published 02/11 2014 06:40PM

Updated 02/11 2014 06:42PM

BURLINGTON, Vt.- We've all heard of the cruise ships docked because of an outbreak of the norovirus. Now that highly contagious stomach bug hits home. While the norovirus itself is nothing new doctors in Vermont say they've been seeing more people coming in with it this year than the flu.

The winter season is synonymous with the flu season.

“Some years there’s more activity then others,” said Patsy Kelso, with the Vermont Department of Health.

This year Kelso says it's the H1N1 strand that’s hitting adults, mainly between the ages of 20 to 40, hard. 

“That's mostly what we are seeing in Vermont. Just like we have the past couple of years,” said Kelso.

But doctors at local walk in clinics say it’s not the flu that's topping their lists this winter, it's the norovirus.

“It’s usually a pretty rapid onset of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sometimes a low fever sometimes a headache and body ache,” said Kelso.

And if all that doesn't sound awful there's more.

“The big risk is that people can become dehydrated from the vomiting and diarrhea so that’s something that folks should watch out for,” said Kelso.

Kelso says the state doesn't keep track of the number of cases of norovirus unless an outbreak is reported somewhere like a school or nursing home. Health officials in New Hampshire say they are seeing a rise in both the flu and norovirus.
And in New York a resort just 70 miles south of Albany in Ulster County shut down for the week after an outbreak there. Kelso says to avoid the extremely contagious norovirus, stick to the old tried and true methods.

“Wash your hands very often because just using plain regular soap and water can eliminate the virus from your hands. you know try not to touch lots of surfaces or shake others hands without washing your hands pretty regularly because that’s the best way to avoid getting sick,” said Kelso.

Kelso also says disinfecting anything the sick person came in contact with especially the bathroom can help keep you healthy. While there is no vaccination for the norovirus there is still plenty of time to get a flu shot! Kelso says the flu season might last another two to three months.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.