How long is the 24-hour stomach virus contagious?

Answer

The length of time the 24-hour stomach virus is contagious depends on whether the 24-hours stomach flu is caused by norovirus or rotavirus, the two leading causes of stomach flu, according to the Mayo Clinic. Norovirus is contagious for three days to two weeks after symptoms appear, and rotavirus is contagious for about two weeks after a person becomes sick.

Both viruses are spread through close contact with infected persons, according to Mayo Clinic. Not sharing utensils and drinks with others and washing hands thoroughly and frequently throughout the day can typically avert infection.

Norovirus is the leading cause of gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, in adults, the Mayo Clinic explains. Once an individual begins feeling ill, he is contagious, and symptoms occur within one to three days of exposure to the virus. While health typically improves after one day, the contagious period continues and is markedly longer in children than in adults.

With rotavirus, which is a top cause of gastroenteritis in children and infants, symptoms begin to occur one to two days after exposure to the virus, the Mayo Clinic states, and the contagious period begins at contact with the virus before symptoms occur. Children with rotavirus are contagious for a longer period as well, making consistent hand washing a priority.

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