Norovirus Facts and Info

norovirus-statisticsWhat is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a food borne viral infection that was first identified in 1972 following an outbreak in 1968. The virus is quite contagious and has the potential to spread rapidly. The virus is acquired by ingesting material that has been contaminated with infected fluids or liquids.

Norovirus Incubation Period:
Norovirus has an incubation period of 12-48 hours. This is from the time the virus is caught to the time symptoms begin to appear. It is however possible to exhibit symptoms earlier than 12 hours.

What are the Symptoms of Norovirus?
Norovirus can exhibit itself with a variety of symptoms. The most common symptoms include:
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Nausea
• Abdominal Cramps

Secondary symptoms of Norovirus Include:
• Headache
• Chills
• Achy muscles
• Lethargy
• Mild fever

How is Norovirus Transmitted?
There are several ways that Norovirus can spread. Primary modes of transmission include:
• Consuming food prepared by an infected person that has not washed his/her hands properly after using the toilet.
• Shaking hands with an infected person that has not washed his/her hands properly after using the toilet
• Consuming shellfish that has not been properly cooked
• Inhaling airborne particles released during vomiting
• Touching contaminated surfaces and objects

Norovirus can be contracted by touching the following objects:
• Door Knobs
• Tables
• Telephones
• Pens
• Computer Keyboards

What are the Effects of Norovirus?
The primary effect of Norovirus is dehydration due to the loss of fluids through vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration is quite serious and could possibly lead to hospitalization and even death. In light of this, ensure that the following precautions are taken to avoid the risk of dehydration.
• Drink plenty of fluids including water and juices
• Drink fluids with electrolytes such as Gatorade or Powerade to help replenish what is lost through diarrhea and vomiting
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they have been known to increase urination

How is Norovirus Treated?
There is no medical treatment for Norovirus. The best thing is to allow the illness to run its course. This usually spans between 2-3 days. It is also important to get plenty of rest. Symptoms such as nausea can be alleviated by drinking ginger tea or an infusion of meadow sweet. You may also get relief from inflammation and discomfort by placing castor oil packs on the tummy. This is as castor oil is well known for its ability to reduce inflammation, promote healing and improve circulation.

How Can Norovirus be Prevented?
Since Norovirus is highly contagious, the following strict measures should be taken to avoid infection.
• Wash hands thoroughly with soap after using the toilet and before eating.
• Wash hands after touching objects and surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus.
• Dry hands with a clean towel. Alternatively, disposable towels can be used.
• Avoid preparing food if you are infected• Avoid eating raw shellfish.
• Cook shellfish properly- preferably above 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

What Other Names is the Virus Called?
Before being name Norovirus, this food borne disease was known as Norwalk Virus after the small town of Norwalk, Ohio. Other popular names for the virus are:
• Norwalk-like Virus
• Norwalk Agent
• Snow Mountain Virus
• Small Round-Structured Viruses
• Winter Vomiting Disease
• Winter Vomiting bug
• Viral Gastroenteritis
• Acute Non-Bacterial Gastroenteritis
• Stomach flu
• Food poisoning

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