Everything You Need To Know About Norovirus: Symptoms, Prevention, and Treatment
The highly contagious Norovirus, also known as ‘Stomach Flu,’ spreads through contaminated water and food. It's critical to practise good hygiene, such as washing hands with soap and water and eating home-cooked meals whenever possible.
Norovirus is a viral illness that presents as acute gastroenteritis. Acute gastroenteritis is a common infectious disease syndrome, causing a combination of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Symptoms include profuse and profound watery diarrhoea without blood or mucus. There may be associated vomiting, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever that is usually low-grade (< 1010 F).
There is no treatment for Norovirus, but the symptoms usually resolve on its own. It's best to stay at home and drink enough fluids until your symptoms subside becasue the virus is contagious.
What makes it so contagious?
Less than 100 virus particles are required for transmission of Norovirus. Norovirus is extremely stable in the environment; it resists freezing temperatures or temperatures up to 60°C. The virus cannot be controlled via disinfection with chlorine or alcohol. Plus, there is no vaccine, unlike rotavirus.
Can a person be affected with Norovirus and not know about it?
Yes. A person can be asymptomatic, but the chances are very rare—as less as 4 per cent in adults and 8 per cent in children.
What are the similarities between Norovirus to other contagious infections?
Its mode of transmission is similar to that of other viruses. Norovirus is spread by the feco-oral route (i.e., through faecal contamination of food and water) just like any other virus, including rotavirus, typhoid, hepatitis-A, and hepatitis-E.
What can you do to protect yourself?
Consume properly cooked home food and boiled water. Avoid eating foods from places where hygiene and sanitation are questionable. Wash hands with soap and water instead of alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
What should you do after you’ve been exposed to Norovirus?
If you have vomiting and diarrhoea, you should hydrate yourself. Take 200-250 ml of oral rehydration solution (ORS) after each loose stool. Have coconut water and natural fruit juices. If diarrhoea does not subside or worsens after 12-24 hours, you should consult a physician immediately.
What are the serious effects of Norovirus?
You can develop low blood pressure, which is known as hypovolemic shock in medical terminology. You may also lose your life if you do not consume adequate fluids.
What is the after-care post recovery from Norovirus?
To rest the stomach and intestine, drink more water than solid food. Also, avoid preparing food or mixing your food with others until at least two days post resolution of symptoms.