2008_11_norov.jpgThe Health Department is urging New Yorkers to wash their hands more after noting 19% more cases of the norovirus stomach virus at city hospitals. Also called the "stomach flu" (but nothing like influenza that strikes during the cold months), the norovirus causes vomiting and diarrhea, as well as include nausea, stomach cramping, fever, chills, aches and tiredness. A Health Department epidemiologist said, "Norovirus infection is a miserable experience, and can be serious if you become dehydrated. Thorough hand-washing with soap and warm water - especially before eating and after using the bathroom - is the best way to avoid it." You can get the norovirus in a number of ways, like "Eating food or drinking liquids that have been contaminated by a person with norovirus," and you can help prevent it by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm water (more tips here).