On the morning news I heard a report that affects most people that I know. The outbreak of the Norovirus is something that can make many ill and all not feel very well. Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Often called by other names such as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu and food poisoning. This virus is not related to influenza (flu).
Norovirus is available for all to catch. The disease occurs only in humans and is found worldwide. The virus is very easy to spread and is very common due to the ease o transmission. Someone may be contaminated and then not know they have it til symptoms appear 1 to 2 days later. However, the symptoms may occur even quicker at times
Noroviruses are spread by hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom. An infected individual may contaminate the food or drink liquids by an infected person. Uncooked shellfish that has been harvested from contaminated waters may also be a source that spreads norovirus. Another source to spread the virus is by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their mouth or eating without washing their hands first.
Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. A low grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and tiredness may also be present. It is possible to be sick all at once and an individual can have norovirus many times. There may be no symptoms at all but you may carry it to someone else.
If you feel as if you have any of the symptoms that occur with norovirus then be sure to drink plenty of fluids, wash your hands often and contact your health provider.
The virus is short lived lasting normally only 1 or 2 days. It is important to drink liquids to replace what is lost due to the diarrhea and vomiting. If the body does not replenish liquids soon enough dehydration may set in. The very young and elderly or those with other health issues are those that must be the most careful.
While the virus may only last a day the sick individual may spread the virus from the time they feel sick til 3 days after they get better. This is why it is important to wash hands to prevent spreading the infection. The sick individual should stay home from school or work until they have recovered from all symptoms.
While Norovirus outbreaks occur through the year, over 80% will occur November to April. If you have norovirus illness, you can feel extremely ill and throw up or have diarrhea many times a day. This can lead to dehydration, especially in young children, older adults, and people with other illnesses.
Symptoms of dehydration—
- decrease in urination
- dry mouth and throat
- feeling dizzy when standing up
Children who are dehydrated may cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.