Symptoms of Norovirus

© Taric Alani

© Taric Alani

Norovirus or the “Winter Vomiting Disease” as it is also called is a common virus that’s seen around the world. It is highly infectious.  An outbreak must be closely controlled to avoid infecting other people. Although it is not a hospital infection, it can be brought into the hospital by an individual who is incubating the virus and spread it to nurses who then spread it to more patients.

How Do People Catch the Norovirus?
Since this is a highly contagious disease, catching it is very easy. Primarily, it is passed on to other people through food that is contaminated with the virus. If you happen to eat food, especially fruits and vegetables that are not properly cleaned after being handled by someone with the virus, you can certainly catch it too.

Other than food, you can also get the virus by touching objects and surfaces that are contaminated with the virus then placing your hands in your mouth.  That is why it is extremely important to always wash your hands before eating.  This is in fact, one of the most  common ways that children catch Norovirus.  Many do not wash their hands, and many also have their hands and fingers in their mouths. They then spread their germs to others.

Lastly, you can get the Norovirus by being in direct contact with an infected individual who is already showing signs of the virus. When caring for such a person, it is quite possible you can catch it.

Symptoms of the Norovirus
Although you may be aware of ways to catch the norovirus infection, how do you tell that someone is already infected? To do so, you just need to lookout for the symptoms discussed below.

The first symptom that this virus brings about after its incubation period of about two days is vomiting. The infected person suddenly starts feeling sick followed by bouts of watery diarrhea and vomiting. It is pertinent to note that the vomit and diarrhea do not have any blood traces in them. It is because of these two symptoms that it is also called the stomach flu.

Apart from diarrhea and vomiting, you will also experience stomach pain and cramps as a result of the infection. It is also characterized by other common symptoms like fever, headache and general body aches. Fatigue and chills are also known symptoms of a Norovirus infection.

Due to excessive vomiting, people suffering from this condition are usually dehydrated. Therefore, you must also be able to tell if the person is dehydrated so that you can provide them with enough fluids. In children, dehydration can be identified by drowsiness, paleness, shallow breaths and a dry mouth. In adults, dehydration is characterized by tiredness, dizziness, sunken eyes, dry mouth and weakness. In extreme cases, the patient can have an increased heart rate and even seizures.

The Norovirus is one of those infections that gets a person washed up within a day or two of the infection. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for the condition, although the body’s immunity usually overcomes it after a few days. As a result, you can only avoid catching this virus is by isolating any infected people and keeping high standards of hygiene.

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