So You’ve Managed To Escape The Flu, Congrats! Here’s A Norovirus Fresh From Australia

The flu? That is so last week (although probably it’s still actually very this week)! The new illness set to sweep the nation is fresh off the boat and/or plane from Australia, and it sounds like a nasty bit of work. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today that a new strain of the vomiting disease norovirus has landed on our shores and is making its awful way through the nation.

The bug brings out the worst in people — nausea, forceful vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain, notes USA Today — and accounted for 58% of norovirus outbreaks around the nation.

There’s a reason why new strains of disease wreak such havoc on our bodies, and it’s fairly simple: Your body hasn’t encountered it before, so you’re more susceptible, says an epidemiologist with the CDC’s viral diseases division. The norovirus’ season lasts from about November through March, with this month as its peak.

“This year, that unfortunately coincides with an early increase in flu season,”  says the epidemiologist, noting that while some might call it the “stomach flu,” it’s unrelated to the flu.

If you find yourself clinging to your bathroom’s porcelain savior, it should be over with anywhere between one and three days. Drinking lots of liquids and staying hydrated is about all you can do unless you need to go to the hospital for IV fluids.

To make sure no one else around you gets it, wash your hands with soap and water and disinfect any contaminated surfaces with a diluted bleach solution, advises the CDC. Because no one wants to get the same stomach bug twice in three weeks as may or may not have happened to one-fourth of the Consumerist team. It ain’t pretty, folks.

New norovirus bug sweeps nation [USA Today]