Five child care centres in Waterloo region affected by norovirus

Washing your hands well and staying home when you feel sick are good ways to avoid spreading the virus, Region of Waterloo Public Health says.

Good handwashing, staying home ways to prevent virus from spreading

Washing your hands well is one of the best ways to protect against the norovirus, Region of Waterloo Public Health says. (Getty Images)

Five child care centres in Waterloo region are believed to have been affected by norovirus, according to public health officials.

Testing has not been completed, but Brenda Miller, manager of health protection and investigation for Region of Waterloo Public Health, said looking at the symptoms of the children affected and the amount of time they're sick, there are similarities to those who have norovirus.

The virus – which can cause diarrhea and vomiting – can spread quickly, particularly in child care settings, Miller said.

Children get close to each other, they like to hug, and they may be "challenged in terms of their hand hygiene."

"With norovirus, you only need a very small amount of the virus particle to make you sick," she said.

'A really good lather'

Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to prevent the virus.

"Not just a quick rinse under the water with a little bit of soap, but it means doing a really good lather job," Miller said. She suggests 15 seconds of lather, rinsing your hands well and then using a clean towel to dry.

She also said anyone who has a habit of putting their hands near their face - resting their head on their hands or touching their mouth - should try to break that habit.

Norovirus can spread before a person shows symptoms, but once you do appear to have the virus, Miller said people should stay home and, if they can, remain at home 48 hours after symptoms go away.

Anyone who doesn't feel better after three days should contact their doctor.