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Norovirus Infection

Overview

Norovirus infection is a virus that causes acute gastroenteritis. It is the second most common reason behind diarrhea and vomiting. Norovirus is widespread in winter. Thus, it is also known as “winter vomiting bug” or “winter vomiting disease”.

About norovirus infection

Norovirus infection is a common type of virus that affects the stomach. The virus has an RNA surrounded by a protein. By sequencing this RNA, it was discovered that there are different variants of norovirus. The RNA mutates to form new variants. 

Norovirus infection has similar symptoms as the stomach flu, but they are different and are caused by different pathogens. 

What are the symptoms of norovirus infection?

Some of the symptoms that show your body is infected by norovirus are.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea 
  • Low grade Fever
  • Chills
  • Fatigue 
  • Headache 
  • Muscle aches
  • Stomach ache

The symptoms are visible in a day or two after getting in contact with the infected person. Some people may not show any signs and symptoms, but they are still contagious. Norovirus is shed in the faces of infected animals and humans.

What are the causes of norovirus infection?

Norovirus infection is caused by a small virus known as norovirus. This virus is highly contagious. You can get infected from norovirus by,

  • Drinking polluted water 
  • Eating contaminated food
  • Eating raw, unwashed , and undercooked fruits, vegetables, chicken, etc
  • Touching your mouth after getting in contact with infected surfaces or a person
  • Not washing your hands after using the washroom

Norovirus is difficult to kill because it can thrive in extreme conditions.

When should I visit a doctor for a norovirus infection?

Diarrhea, stomach pain and vomiting typically begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure. Norovirus symptoms usually last one to three days, and most people recover completely without treatment. However, for some people — especially infants, older adults and people with underlying disease — vomiting and diarrhea can be severely dehydrating and require medical attention.

Visit a doctor as soon as you show the symptoms. Seek immediate medical help if you have, 

  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in vomit and stool
  • Dehydration 
  • Symptoms that last for more than three days 

In rare cases, the symptoms could also indicate other diseases, like bowel obstruction, food poisoning, or early stage of any severe disease

Request an appointment at Apollo Hospitals

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What are the risk factors for norovirus infection?

Norovirus can infect anyone, but a few people are more vulnerable to infection. These include,

  • Older people and young children 
  • People with the weakened immune system 
  • Meeting infected person 
  • Eating in restaurants and other places where the food is not handled properly
  • Living in close quarters
  • Unhygienic child care centers 

What are the possible complications with norovirus infection?

In most cases, norovirus infection takes two to three days to be treated and is not life-threatening. However, in some cases, it can get serious. It can cause dehydration, fatigue, malnutrition, and even death. Some of the indications of complicated norovirus infection are

  • Dizziness 
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased urine

How can norovirus infection be prevented?

To prevent yourself from norovirus infection, you must follow these measures:

  • Avoid eating and drinking from contaminated areas
  • Do not eat food made by an infected person 
  • Wash your hands before eating and after using the toilet 
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating and cooking 
  • Cook seafood and raw meat properly 
  • Dispose of medical waste properly
  • Disinfect contaminated surfaces 

What are the treatment options for norovirus infection?

Norovirus infections do not respond to antibiotics and antiviral drugs. The recovery depends on your immune system. For quick recovery, you must keep yourself hydrated. Your doctor will give you antidiarrheal medicines and other medicines to control fever, vomiting, and other symptoms.

Conclusion

Norovirus infection is a common infection. It is a contagious disease, hence you must follow the precautions. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I prevent spreading norovirus infection to other people?

If you have an infection, you must,

  • Avoid going to restaurants or other public places
  • Do not touch surfaces through which others can be infected
  • Wash your hands properly 
  • Drink plenty of water and eat healthy food

How can norovirus be diagnosed?

The symptoms of norovirus are usually visible after 12 to 48 hours of contracting the infection. To diagnose norovirus, the doctor may also suggest a stool test .

What home remedies can I follow for faster treatment?

Here are a few home remedies that you can follow:

  • Eat a bland diet 
  • Keep yourself hydrated
  • Do not drink caffeinated drinks, soft drinks, and alcohol
  • Include banana, cereals, yoghurt, boiled vegetables, and soup in your diet

How long is norovirus contagious?

Norovirus can be contagious till eight weeks. This means that you can still infect people around you. It gradually gets less infectious with time.

How frequent is vomiting in norovirus infection?

Vomiting is one of the major symptoms of norovirus infection. It can be quite frequent, but you must visit your doctor if you notice an unusual smell and color or the vomiting  is not stopping.

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