Norovirus is a stomach and intestinal virus that causes infection during the month of winter. It is a member of the Caliciviridae family of viruses that is very contagious and passes easily through direct and indirect contact with an infected person. Norovirus is responsible for about 90% of viral gastroenteritis outbreaks.
How Is Norovirus Spread from Person to Person?
This virus spreads through feces and the vomit of people and animals with infection. It spreads quickly through close quarters like schools, hospitals, public places, and daycare centers. People get affected by the virus by consuming contaminated food and water. It also spreads through touching objects that are contaminated by someone who has norovirus.
Symptoms and Causes of Norovirus
The most common symptoms of norovirus are nausea, vomiting, watery and non-bloody diarrhea. Norovirus-affected people will show symptoms only after 12 to 48 hours of being infected. If you are wondering how long does norovirus lasts, then here is your answer. Usually, norovirus can last upto three days and for some people, it is more than 3 days.
Other basic symptoms of norovirus include
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Watery or loose diarrhea
- Feeling unwell and lethargic
- Fever and cold (mild)
What Treatment Is Used for Norovirus?
Eliminating norovirus is hard as they can survive in both hot and cold temperatures. It is also resistant to many disinfection methods. And also, for treating norovirus gastroenteritis there is no specific therapy. So, the doctors and the specialists aim to prevent dehydration and other symptoms.
People with norovirus are asked to eat light diet foods like rice, soup, bread, eggs, and potatoes, as they are easy to digest. Also, it is necessary to replace the fluid intake that they lost through vomiting and diarrhea through oral rehydration fluids like Infalyte, Kao Lectrolyte, Naturalyte, Oralyte, and Pedialyte.
For Norovirus patients, dehydration can occur suddenly and, for some people it is life threatening. People with dehydration who are not able to drink enough liquids may need to receive fluids intravenously. After being affected with norovirus, people are likely to face so many risk factors that may affect the person’s immunity system.
How to Prevent Norovirus?
Norovirus is highly contagious and there is no specific treatment or vaccine to prevent them. But by following some safety precautions you can protect yourself from norovirus.
- Hand Wash – Wash your hands frequently with soap or sanitizer. Washing with warm water can reduce the infection. Wash your hands especially after using the washroom and before preparing a meal.
- Avoid contaminated foods – Avoid taking shellfish and the foods prepared by an infected person. Also, avoid taking outside foods that are not clean.
- When caring for a sick person, use disposable gloves and towels.
- Use chlorine bleach and disinfectant on the contaminated surfaces.
- Avoid long-distance travel when you are sick.
- Avoid using swimming pools and public places.
- Wash your fruits, vegetables, and also your plates and utensils before eating.
Coronavirus vs Norovirus
Both coronavirus and norovirus have some similar symptoms and they both are highly contagious. Like coronavirus, norovirus is also asymptomatic in some patients. Between Norovirus and coronavirus, norovirus mutates rapidly and it is hard to recognize the evolved version using standard kits.
Both viruses have their own features and symptoms. It has been estimated that Norovirus has caused 500 to 800 deaths in the United States alone and around 50,000 children have been affected worldwide. As there is no vaccine for norovirus, people are asked to stay safe and hydrated.