What to Know About the Norovirus
By Yuan Cheng
Highly contagious and disinfectant-resistant
Similar symptoms to Stomach Flu but a fundamentally different disease
Consult a doctor depending on the severity of the symptoms
When we think of contagious and potentially deadly diseases, Norovirus does not usually come to mind. People often view Norovirus as “Stomach Flu” since the two share symptoms. However, there is no real connection between the two. However, Norovirus is the leading cause for acute gastroenteritis, causing 685 million cases around the world and around 50,000 child deaths annually. It also costs 60 billion dollars per year from healthcare and productivity losses.
Norovirus, with the ability to brave through extreme temperatures and most disinfectants, is highly contagious. During times with colder temperatures, outbreaks happen much more often.
Touching your mouth with hands that touched contaminated objects or surfaces, being in close contact with someone who is infected, eating uncooked shellfish, and ingesting contaminated foods can all contribute to the spread of Norovirus.
Prevention methods include washing your hands frequently, thoroughly cleansing vegetables and meats, and avoiding raw foods in areas where outbreaks are common. It is highly suggested that those who are sick with Norovirus stay home and abstain from cooking.
Some symptoms of Norovirus include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, pain in the stomach region, and fever. Any combination of these symptoms will appear anytime around 12 to 48 hours after the virus enters the body.
If symptoms persist for 3 or more days with no sign of diminishing in severity, visit a doctor. For the elderly and very young children, watch out for signs of dehydration and do not hesitate to go to the ER if needed.
Depending on the extent and time frame of symptoms, one should decide whether to self-quarantine or go see a doctor. Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, and do not use antibiotics as they target bacterias, not viruses.
Please remain informed on CDC updates regarding Norovirus, practice good hygiene, and stay safe!
Norovirus is named after Norwalk, Ohio, where the virus first appeared in 1972.