Health Complications of Norovirus

Man Dehydrated

Man Dehydrated

Norovirus is not generally considered  a dangerous illness despite its highly contagious qualities and somewhat debilitating symptoms. Despite this, this food borne illness can present several complications if it is not handled properly. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to norovirus and extreme caution should be taken when they are infected with it. Here are some of the complications of a norovirus infection.

Dehydration:
The most common complication of Norovirus is dehydration. This is due to the loss of fluids through diarrhea and vomiting. Babies are more susceptible to becoming dehydrated as they are unable to communicate their feelings. You can tell if a baby is dehydrated if he or she exhibits the following symptoms:
• Weakness
• Dry mouth
• Dry lips
• Passing little urine
• Sunken eyes
• Irritability
• Cold hands
• Mottled skin

Adults display similar dehydration symptoms but may also experience:
• Rapid heart rate
• Dizziness
• Headache
• Muscular cramps

To avoid, prevent or treat dehydration, rehydrating the body with fluids is very important. Drinking plenty of water and juice can help to replace lost fluids. Gulping is not recommending. Instead, drink water or juices slowly. It is also important to note that electrolytes are lost during vomiting and diarrhea. Therefore, you should also consider replenishing these valuable minerals with rehydration fluids such as Gatorade. Sodas and other fizzy drinks should be avoided as they can make dehydration worse.

Malnutrition:
It may be surprising to know that malnutrition could result from being infected with Norovirus. Many individuals experience a loss of appetite and, as a result, the body is deprived of important vitamins and nutrients. In light of that, if you are infected with Norovirus, you should make an attempt to consume nutrient rich foods, regardless of your lack of appetite.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome:
A study has confirmed that those infected with Norovirus are at an increased risk of developing Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Researchers also found that this condition persisted up to twelve months following a Norovirus infection.

Reduction in the Effectiveness of Medications:
If you are taking medications, they may not be as effective when you are infected with Norovirus. Bouts of diarrhea and vomiting often decreases the rate of absorption of medicines into the blood stream. You should be especially mindful of this if you are taking contraceptives or diabetic medications.

Chronic Diarrhea:
Even after Norovirus has run its course, many individuals experience chronic diarrhea afterwards for a while.

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation:
Another complication that can arise from the infection of Norovirus is Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (DIC). This is a condition that causes the blood to clot and form throughout small blood vessels in the body. This condition is the result of severe dehydration and is life threatening. Again, this complication  reinforces the need to drink plenty of liquids.

Death:
Unfortunately, death is one of the complications of Norovirus. Death can occur as a result of severe dehydration and malnutrition. To avoid this, rehydrating lost fluids and eating is of utmost importance when infected with Norovirus.

Although Norovirus is not a deadly virus in itself, the symptoms that it produces could result in detrimental effects, if they are not carefully and quickly addressed. Throughout the course of the illness, if you do nothing else, ensure that you take the necessary steps to prevent dehydration at all costs.

If things progress worse, you should contact your local hospital to make arrangements to be seen by a doctor. You wouldn’t want to walk in and infect others. They may want you to wear a mask, so make sure you contact your hospital before arriving. Of course in emergencies you can dial 911 for help.

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