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Norovirus Symptoms and Prevention

This article helps us learn about norovirus, norovirus symptoms and prevention methods. Severe diarrhea and vomiting are indicative of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is caused by several factors, and viruses and bacteria are the most common. Norovirus is a very common causative virus of stomach flu or gastroenteritis. The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea.

This article helps us learn about norovirus, norovirus symptoms and prevention methods. Severe diarrhea and vomiting are indicative of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is caused by several factors, and viruses and bacteria are the most common. Norovirus is a very common causative virus of stomach flu or gastroenteritis. The first sign of norovirus is usually a sudden sick feeling followed by forceful vomiting and watery diarrhoea. 

Norovirus is the name given to the group of viruses that used to be known as Norwalk-like viruses and Norwalk virus. Noroviruses are also known as small round-structured viruses (SRSVs)

The term norovirus was approved as the official name for this group of viruses in 2002. Previously, they were called Norwalk-like viruses, as norovirus was first identified as a virus in 1972 after an outbreak in Norwalk, Ohio.

Symptoms of norovirus: 

Noroviruses cause unpleasant, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting. Other symptoms are nausea and stomach cramps.

Sometimes, people may have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The illness often begins suddenly, about 24 to 48 hours after exposure and the infected person may become very sick with frequent vomiting and/or diarrhea. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults.

Some people may also have:

  • a raised temperature (over 38C/100.4F)
  • headaches 
  • stomach cramps
  • aching limbs

Symptoms usually appear one to two days after you become infected but they can start sooner. Most people make a full recovery within a couple of days.

Apart from the risk of dehydration, the illness is not generally dangerous and there are usually no long-lasting effects from having norovirus. However, it can be pretty unpleasant while you have it.

Symptoms of dehydration in children include: passing little urine, a dry mouth, a dry tongue and lips, fewer tears when crying, sunken eyes, weakness, being irritable or lethargic. This is a medical emergency and immediate medical attention is needed.

In most healthy people, acute diarrhea and vomiting usually last eight to twelve hours, and people normally recover in 48 hours. Symptoms may last longer in some people.

Most people feel better within one or two days, with symptoms resolving on their own and no long-term health effects occurring after illness. .

There is no vaccine or medicine that will prevent a norovirus infection and norovirus illness can recur throughout a person’s lifetime.

People infected with norovirus can be contagious from the moment they start feeling ill to at least three days after they have recovered. Some people may be contagious for as long as two weeks after recovery.

Prevention methods to reduce the risk of norovirus infections:

There is no preventative treatment i.e. vaccine or antiviral medication for noroviruses and they cannot be treated with antibiotics because antibiotics fight bacteria, not viruses. Better to adopt prevention method to be at safe side.

  • Wash hands frequently, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers and before eating or preparing food. 
  • Do not eat raw or undercooked oysters or other shellfish.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating.
  • Thoroughly clean contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness with hot, soapy water and then disinfect the area using a household disinfectant.
  • Immediately remove and wash clothing or linen that may be contaminated with stool or vomit (use hot water and soap).
  • Flush or discard any vomit and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.
  • If you do become infected, avoid contact with others until you are well again and avoid preparing food while you have symptoms and for three days after you recover.

Reference: Public Health Agency of Cananad - Noroviruses - Fact Sheet

http://www.nhs.uk/

http://www.patient.co.uk/health/Norovirus.htm

http://www.medicinenet.com/

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