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Parents warned of ‘vomiting and diarrhea’ illness after 75 Hanover kids sickened

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HANOVER, Va. – Parents reached out to CBS 6 after a number of children at a local elementary school came down with an illness.

The Hanover Health Department confirmed in a letter to parents that they have been notified about a number of cases of vomiting and diarrhea among children who attend Cold Harbor Elementary School.

The health department, along with the Hanover school system, is actively investigating. So far, the cause of the illness has not been determined, according to officials.

Virginia Department of Health confirmed that around 75 Hanover students have been sick since April 21, and that they were from one location, but they can not specify which one. So far though, correspondence has only gone from the health department to parents at one school — Cold Harbor.

“It’s actually shocking,” said Chris Lawrence, a parent at Cold Harbor Elementary, “To hear that everyone else is getting sick, I am just trying to keep mine clean, make sure everything is sanitized in the house.”

Lawrence’s daughter told CBS 6 half of her classmates had been out sick this week because of the virus going around.

cold harbor elementary

CBS 6 Reporter Chelsea Rarrick will have a full update on this story at 11 p.m. If you have a child at this school, or a tip, please email the newsroom.

In a letter to parents, officials noted that “there are several common contagious viruses that cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that spread rapidly in group settings.”

The letter noted that parents should look out for “Symptoms usually included low-grade fever, chills, headache, and muscle aches which sometimes accompany the gastro-intestinal symptoms.”

Ill children were encouraged to consume fluids to prevent dehydration.

School officials also asked parents to keep their child home for at least 24 hours after symptoms stop if they become ill with nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

The school warned that the most common way of contracting viruses of the type going around the school is “by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth before handwashing.”

Tips to battle the spread of such viruses include frequent handwashing with warm water and soap, especially after using the restroom and before eating or preparing food.

Also, to reduce the risk of spreading it among household, officials asked parents to designate a separate bathroom (if available) to be used exclusively by the sick individual, wear disposable gloves when cleaning soiled areas, carefully dispose of paper towels used for cleaning in a separate plastic waste bag, seal the waste bag and dispose, then wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least one minute.

All family members were encouraged to wash their hands frequently.

The Hanover Health Department is working with the school to control the spread of this infection.