Norovirus: Symptoms, Treatment, Prevention, and More

What is norovirus ? Norovirus is a stomach and intestinal virus that ’ south very contagious. It passes well through direct or indirect contact with an infect person. It can spread promptly in close up quarters such as hospitals, schools, and day manage centers. Most people have some experience with norovirus. It ’ s a common illness of the stomach and intestinal nerve pathway. Norovirus can besides be a reservoir of food poisoning, because you can get it from eating contaminated food. The results are the same no matter how you get it.

The hallmark symptoms of norovirus are vomiting and watery, non-bloody diarrhea. These symptoms normally start within 12 to 48 hours of being exposed and can stopping point up to three days. Most people make a full convalescence. There ’ s no specific treatment except to rest and rehydrate. The most significant complicatedness is dehydration. Norovirus can be good and even black in the very young, older adults, and people with other health problems. Because there are many norovirus strains, having it once doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate prevent you from getting it again. You can lower the hazard of disease transmission by washing your hands thoroughly and frequently. Norovirus is thought to be the most common campaign of acute gastroenteritis in the world, leading to 685 million cases a class. Gastroenteritis is inflammation and infection of the digest and intestinal tract caused by any infectious organism, like bacteria and viruses. Norovirus is creditworthy for up to 21 million illnesses in the United States each year.

Norovirus treatment

There ’ s no special medicate for norovirus. It ’ s not a bacterial contagion, so antibiotic won ’ thyroxine assistant. Treatment is chiefly supportive, with a goal of preventing dehydration. here are some self-care tips :


Don ’ t push yourself. Stay home and lie .

Replenish fluids

Drink batch of fluids. To replace electrolytes, oral hydration solutions, like Pedialyte, are recommended for all ages. They ’ re particularly necessary in infants and children. Sports drinks, popsicles, and broths should only be taken by older children and adults. Stay away from sugary drinks, as these can worsen diarrhea. You should besides avoid drinks that contain caffeine or alcohol .

Continue your diet

Infants should continue breastfeeding or formula feeding while being rehydrated. For children and adults, as appetite picks up, some full choices are :

  • soups
  • plain noodles
  • rice
  • pasta
  • eggs
  • potatoes
  • crackers or bread
  • fresh fruit
  • yogurt
  • Jell-O
  • cooked vegetables
  • lean proteins like chicken and fish

Talk to your doctor

You can try an nonprescription ( OTC ) anti-diarrheal, but not if you have a fever, severe diarrhea, or bloody stools. Don ’ metric ton give OTC medications to infants or children with vomit or diarrhea, unless instructed by your repair. You should start to feel good within a few days. however, call your repair :

  • if you have a fever
  • if you can’t tolerate liquids
  • if your diarrhea is severe or lasts more than three days
  • if your stools are bloody
  • if you have any serious preexisting health problem
  • if you normally take prescription medications, but can’t keep them down

Diarrhea lasting more than three days can lead to austere complications from dehydration. You may require hospitalization to receive intravenous fluids. Learn more about dehydration: Risks, treatment, and prevention »

Norovirus incubation period

The moment you come into liaison with a norovirus, you probably won ’ triiodothyronine know it. You can pick it up from touching a contaminate surface or from something you eat. You can besides get it from person-to-person contact. Once it ’ s on your hands, you can easily transfer it to your sass. The average meter between initial contact and first symptoms, or the incubation period, is about 12 to 48 hours, with a median prison term of 33 hours. Your first gear clue that something is incorrect may be nausea. sudden vomit, abdominal cramp, and watery diarrhea can follow. If necessary, the virus can be identified in a sample of your stool if done within 48 to 72 hours after symptom begin. In some cases, norovirus can be detected in stool for up to 14 days or even longer. a long as you ’ re still shedding the virus in your stool, you can pass it on to others. That ’ south comfortable to do because it only takes a small sum of the virus to cause illness. You can spread the infection to others evening if you don ’ t have symptoms. Keep reading: Am I contagious? When to stay home sick »

How contagious is norovirus?

Norovirus is highly contagious. Anyone can acquire the virus, and that doesn ’ thyroxine protect you from getting infected by it again. here ’ second why it ’ s then catching :

  • It takes only 18 virus particles to make you sick.
  • The virus has a short incubation period. That means you can spread it around before you know you’re sick.
  • The virus is hardy and can survive outside your body for several days.
  • You can continue to spread the virus for two weeks or longer after symptoms fade.
  • You can have the virus, but not have any symptoms. Even so, you’re still capable of spreading it around.

A few things can increase your risk of getting the infection, such as :

  • Spending time in a hospital, nursing home, school, or day care center. The virus spreads particularly fast in close quarters. For this reason, your risk may also be higher on a cruise ship, hotel, or in a resort setting.
  • Contact with an infected person, especially if you’re caring for a sick person and are exposed to their vomit or stool.
  • Sharing food, drinks, plates, cups, or utensils with an infected person.
  • Eating food or drinks prepared in unsanitary conditions.

In the United States, most outbreak occur between November and April. Read more: How to handle school sick days »

Norovirus in babies

Babies and toddlers are particularly vulnerable to norovirus infection. They ’ re more probable than healthy adults to have good complications. Symptoms in infants and children are likely to include :

  • irritability or fussiness
  • sleepiness
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

There ’ second unplayful risk of dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea. The younger the child, the less vomit and diarrhea they can tolerate. Call your baby doctor if your child :

  • is under 6 months old and has experienced vomiting or diarrhea
  • has had six or more watery stools in 24 hours
  • has vomited three times or more in 24 hours
  • has pale or mottled skin
  • isn’t producing tears
  • has sunken eyes
  • has a fever
  • is lethargic or less responsive than usual
  • has bloody diarrhea
  • complains of dizziness
  • produces little to no urine — no wet diapers for an infant in 6 to 8 hours or no urine for 12 hours in an older child
  • has had symptoms lasting two days
  • has a coexisting health problem

Worldwide, about 200 million cases of norovirus a class occur in children under age 5. It ’ s estimated that over one million medical visits for U.S. children are due to norovirus. In the U.S., 1 in 278 children will need hospital care for norovirus by their fifth birthday. Of these 1 in 14 will need emergency room care, and 1 in 6 will need outpatient care. Norovirus spreads promptly among children. Infected children shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate attend school, day care, or early activities. Children should be taught to wash their hands frequently, specially after using the bathroom.

Norovirus prevention

Norovirus is highly catching and persistent. There ’ second no vaccine to prevent it, but there are some things you can do to lower the gamble of infection .

  • Wash your hands after using the toilet, changing a diaper, or caring for a sick person. Use soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. If you don’t have access to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • When caring for a sick person, wear gloves and use plastic bags to dispose of soiled materials or diapers. Use disinfectant or a chlorine bleach solution on contaminated surfaces. Handle contaminated clothes carefully and launder them right away.
  • Don’t consume food or beverages prepared by a sick person.
  • Wash your hands before preparing or eating food.
  • Wash all produce before cutting into or eating it.
  • Don’t eat raw or undercooked seafood.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. This is especially important if you work in food service, healthcare, or education. Sick children shouldn’t attend school, day care, or other activities.
  • Put off travel plans until you’re fully recovered.
  • Don’t use public swimming pools when you have diarrhea.

Remember, you can calm spread the virus for up to two weeks after symptoms subside. Because there are many different strains of the virus, having it once doesn ’ thyroxine protect you from getting it again.

Read more: 7 ways to flu-proof your home »

Norovirus transmission

Noroviruses are estimated to cause 60 percentage of all cases of acute gastroenteritis from known pathogens. Pathogens are anything that can cause illness, like bacteria or viruses. transmission is easy because it takes barely a little amount of the virus to cause an infection. With a short-circuit incubation period, you can be spreading it before you even know you ’ rhenium ill. And you can be contagious for a few days to a few months after symptoms go away. If you have other health problems, you can be catching tied longer. The pathogens can endure extreme heat and cold and can live outside the consistency for several days. The primary coil way norovirus spreads is the fecal-oral road, but it can besides spread through droplets of vomit. This can occur after person-to-person reach, such as when you shake hands. If you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate thoroughly wash your hands, one touch to your mouth is all it takes. It can spread quickly in a healthcare set up. infection can besides occur indirectly, such as when food, water, or surfaces become contaminate. Just touching an infect doorknob or cellular telephone could start the chain reaction. When person vomits, the virus can become airborne, then if it gets in your mouth, it can end up in your intestinal tract. Norovirus spreads easily in large groups of people.

Norovirus during pregnancy

Getting norovirus when you ’ rhenium fraught shouldn ’ t damage your baby or your own health in the long term. If you have diarrhea and vomiting while fraught, it ’ s a good theme to contact your doctor of the church veracious away. It may be a case of norovirus, but it could be something else. Take steps to avoid dehydration, which can be a serious complication of norovirus. When you have vomiting and diarrhea, drink enough of fluids, like Pedialyte, but limit beverages containing caffeine. Ask your doctor before taking any OTC medicine during pregnancy. Contact your doctor of the church if you have signs of dehydration, such as :

  • dark-colored urine
  • decreased urination
  • dry mouth and throat
  • lightheadedness, dizziness
  • loss of appetite
  • fatigue
  • rapid heartbeat
  • headache

Remedies for diarrhea during pregnancy »

Norovirus causes

It all starts when you come into contact with the virus. It could be lurking on your food. Or possibly you touch an infect light trade or hold person ’ south hand before touching your mouth or nose. That ’ south when those bantam particles gain submission to your body. You ’ re unaware as the particles make their way down your esophagus. They pass through your stomach and enter your intestines. The intestines are the norovirus sugared point, where rapid reproduction seems to take place. interim, your immune system is alerted to the presence of foreign invaders. It directs an united states army of antibodies to destroy them. Most of the time, your antibodies will claim victory over the virus within one to three days. But your body can continue to shed the virus for up to two weeks or longer. Keep reading: Causes of viral gastroenteritis »

Norovirus with a rash

Rash international relations and security network ’ t normally a symptom of norovirus. In some cases, the virus can trigger hives ( urtication ). It can start out with itch and promptly morph into red welts. You know it ’ s hives when you press on the bump and its kernel turns white. Hives can be treated with antihistamines. You can besides use a cold compress to temporarily relieve itch. Infants with diarrhea are susceptible to diaper foolhardy. Diarrhea stools can carry certain digestive enzymes that irritate the skin. You can cut down on this irritation by changing your baby ’ randomness diapers frequently and cleaning their skin thoroughly with affectionate water. Using a barrier cream after each diaper change can besides be helpful. Avoid child wipes that control alcohol. consult with your baby doctor if the rash continues to worsen or your baby ’ randomness skin is bleeding. severe diarrhea can besides cause adults to develop a rash around their anus. Keep the area as houseclean and dry as possible. Wash with mild soap and warmly water. Call your doctor of the church if the hide in this area blisters or oozes. The rash should clear up after the diarrhea subsides. If you have a gastrointestinal illness accompanied by a serious rash, it ’ s not inevitably a font of norovirus. See your repair for diagnosis. Learn more about hives »

Reoccurring norovirus

With some illnesses, having a individual infection gives you unsusceptibility for animation. Vaccines can provide unsusceptibility to others. But that ’ s not the case with norovirus. There ’ sulfur no vaccine, and having it once won ’ thymine save you from getting it again. In fact, you can get it many times throughout your life sentence. If you ’ re equitable getting over a turn of norovirus, it ’ second unclear how retentive you ’ ll have irregular exemption. however, there are a kind of strains, so there ’ s no guarantee you won ’ metric ton have another bout in short decree. If the virus is going around your family or workplace, take preventive measures to lower the chances of getting reinfected. For example :

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often, especially after using the toilet, changing a diaper, or tending a sick person. Wash your hands before food preparation or eating. If there’s no soap and water available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Try not to touch your face with your hands.
  • Don’t share eating utensils, cups, or plates.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
  • Avoid raw seafood.
  • When possible, stay away from infected people. Stay home when you’re sick.

If you much experience vomiting or diarrhea, see your doctor to make certain it ’ s a norovirus. They may collect a stool sample to confirm the diagnosis.

Norovirus recovery time

Symptoms normally begin about 12 to 48 hours after you ’ ve come into contact with the virus. In otherwise healthy adults, norovirus international relations and security network ’ t normally a serious trouble. Symptoms can be expected to last for one to three days. Most people make a fully recovery. Symptoms can hit infants particularly hard. There may be more vomit and diarrhea. That can lead to dehydration. Whenever possible, rehydration therapy with oral rehydration solutions, like Pedialyte, is preferred and encouraged. Depending on the austereness of symptoms, intravenous fluids and other supportive measures may be needed. recovery time may be longer.

It might besides take more time to recover if you have a weakened immune system or another health problem that makes it harder to fight the virus. Worldwide, norovirus claims the lives of 50,000 children a year. Almost all these deaths occur in developing countries. Older adults have a weaker immune system, frequently along with other chronic illnesses. In these cases, dehydration may be more likely. Hospitalization is sometimes necessity, and it may take weeks for the body to rid itself of the virus. It ’ south estimated that each year in the United States, 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations and 570 to 800 deaths can be attributed to norovirus .

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