The first noises we heard were the sounds of feet slowly shuffling across the floor. As the shuffling went from the far side of the house into our kitchen, we could make out faint groaning sounds.
Stone and I looked at each other. He said, “What’s that noise?”
“Sounds like your sisters are awake,” I responded.
“That’s not good,” Stone said.
“I think they may have turned into zombies,” I said.
A few seconds later, we heard a much louder groaning. It came from the direction of my bedroom.
“That’s the momma zombie,” Stone exclaimed.
With that, I hustled up the stairs to check on my wife and three daughters.
Fortunately, they hadn’t actually become victims of a zombie apocalypse. They were just sick with a virus, but not just any virus — they had the norovirus.
After suffering through the virus for a couple of days, Andrea said transforming into the undead definitely couldn’t be any worse.
As the week continued, several employees at the Daily Mountain Eagle came down with similar symptoms to what my girls had suffered. My poor little 1-year-old Joy has even been referred to as the “outbreak monkey,” because she was the first to come down with the sickness.
Officials with Walker Baptist Medical Center said this new strain of the norovirus is in some areas of the United States right now. It is the same virus that has caused problems on some cruise ships for several years.
There is no specific treatment for the virus. Only the symptoms (fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, dehydration and respiratory issues) can be treated.
The bug is hard to kill. Only bleach will disinfect properly. Hand sanitizer and sanitary wipes aren’t very effective against this thing.
You can even spread the bug before you know you are sick.
The best way to prevent the spread is to wash your hands with soap and water. The Centers for Disease Control has said adequate soap and vigorous hand washing for 20 to 30 seconds is recommended. I heard the other day that you should sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself to know how long you should wash your hands.
In our home, the males have been blessed so far with not getting the virus. I had a bout with something very similar after Thanksgiving, so I think I may have an immunity. Stone hasn’t gotten sick either to this point, but that’s probably because I basically quarantined him in his room for a few days.
Our house is now symptom free, and we hope we are now virus free, but several Eagle employees are still feeling the effects of the bug.
WBMC officials have said that if a person is sick with this virus that they really need to stay home, so I’ve banished any of our sick folks to their homes.
For the people out there struggling with this bug, you definitely have my prayers. This thing is tough and it will make you feel terrible for a few days. Be sure to stay hydrated and get plenty of rest. That’s about the only way to fight the norovirus.
James Phillips is Editor of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.