Diagnosing and Treating Norovirus

© Loren Kerns

© Loren Kerns

The Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can cause the quick onset of vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus are a group of viruses that cause inflammation of the stomach and large intestine lining.  Currently it is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis throughout the United States. It can be transmitted by many different methods, such as through sharing contaminated water, food, and more. People acquire the Noroviruses when they ingest material that is contaminated with small amounts of infected feces or fluids. This can include water and food that is contaminated during the handling or processing as well. Since it can be transmitted between persons through food and drinks, it is commonly found on cruise ships, restaurants, and in other social areas.

Diagnosing Norovirus
There are many symptoms associated with Norovirus, with the hallmark symptom being frequent vomiting. Along with the vomiting there is also going to be nausea and constant diarrhea, this is why many refer to Norovirus as the “two bucket” illness. Nausea is frequently associated and most often those infected will also have stomach pain as a result of the inflammation in the intestines. Those who are infected with Noroviruses will be sick for 24 to 48 hours.  The majority of those who catch the virus will be able to make a full recovery. Other symptoms for Norovirus include headache, chills, muscle aches, fatigue, and possibly a fever. The most important symptoms to consider are the diarrhea and vomiting which can easily deplete your body of needed fluid and leave you dehydrated. Children and the elderly are most susceptible to being left dehydrated as a result of prolonged symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea. Because of the loss of fluid, thirst will also be another symptom and sign of being infected with the virus.

Treating Those With Norovirus
The illness usually resolves itself, many people are over their sickness after they are infected with Norovirus within just a few days. However, the illness can easily make it an uncomfortable few days for you. There are a few things that you can do in order to help your body recover and return to optimal health. Because of the frequent loss of fluid due to the diarrhea and vomiting, it is important to remember to stay hydrated and to drink lots of healthy fluids for the body. Those fluids which contain sugar and electrolytes are going to be more beneficial for the body. It is also important to clean your hands whenever you come into contact with any new objects or individuals.  Even after your symptoms go away you can still be contagious for a few days afterwards and can easily spread it to another. The most important aspect to remember is that you need to keep your body efficiently hydrated. It can last for several days at the most so make sure that you also remember to get plenty of sleep so that your body can properly recover and initiate its own self-healing system.

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