Norovirus is a common “stomach bug” that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It is quite common during the winter season but one can acquire it at any time of the year. The condition can be quite unpleasant but typically clears up in a few days. It is good to note that the condition can be cared for at home. Norovirus can be avoided by consulting a doctor since it can readily spread to others.
What are the indications?
The signs and symptoms of norovirus are quite distinct. An individual is likely to have the condition if the following are present:
- Projectile vomiting
- Abrupt feeling of being sick
- Watery diarrhea
There is also slight fever, stomach cramping, headaches and aching limbs. These symptoms manifest 1-2 days after an individual becomes infected and can last for 2-3 days.
What should I do?
If an individual has an abrupt episode of vomiting and diarrhea, it is recommended to stay home until he/she starts to feel better. Remember that there is no cure for norovirus and simply allowed to run its course.
Medical care is not usually needed unless there is a risk for serious issues. There are measures that can be carried out to alleviate the symptoms such as:
- Encourage increased intake of fluids to avoid dehydration. It is important to drink more than usual to replace the lost fluids from diarrhea and vomiting. Aside from water, adults can be given soup and fruit juice. Fizzy beverages or fruit juices should not be given to children since these can worsen the diarrhea.
- Provide paracetamol for fever or bodily aches.
- Urge to get enough rest.
- Provide rehydration drinks available in pharmacies if there are indications of dehydration.
- Adults can be given anti-diarrheal and/or anti-emetic medications. Remember that these are not suitable for everybody. A doctor should be consulted first.
Acquiring norovirus is not always possible to prevent, but certain measures can stop its spread.
- Stay away from school or work at least 48 hours after the symptoms settled.
- Regularly wash hands using water and soap especially after using the toilet and before food preparation.
- All objects or surfaces that might be contaminated should be cleaned using a bleach-based household cleaner.
- Bedding or clothing that might be contaminated should be washed separately to eliminate the virus.
- Avoid sharing towels and flannels.
- Avoid eating unwashed, raw produce. When eating oysters, it should come from a dependable source since oysters can carry norovirus.
- Flush away infected vomit or stool in the toilet and clean the surrounding area.