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Norovirus - Symptoms, Causes and Prevention

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Summary about Norovirus

Winter vomiting bug, or norovirus, is a stomach bug that causes diarrhoea and vomiting. It can be very unpleasant but usually goes away within a couple of days. The norovirus is a very infectious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. Anyone can contract norovirus and become ill. Viruses are highly contagious, and they are commonly spread via contaminated food and water or through contaminated surfaces. Close contact with an infected person can also lead to infection.
Vomiting, diarrhoea and stomach pain typically begin 12 to 48 hours after exposure. It usually takes one to three days for norovirus symptoms to subside, and most people recover completely without medication. It is important to note that vomiting and diarrhoea can cause severe dehydration for some people - especially infants, the elderly and people with underlying conditions. All such people might need special medical attention to help combat the virus.
Norovirus infections are most common in closed and crowded environments such as hospitals, nursing homes, child care centres, schools, and cruise ships.

Symptoms of Norovirus

It normally takes 24 to 72 hours for a person to experience signs and symptoms after exposure to norovirus. Even after you've recovered, you may continue to shed the virus in your stool for up to two weeks. With certain underlying health conditions, this shedding can last from weeks to months.

Some people with norovirus infections do not show any symptoms. Despite this, they are still contagious and can spread the virus.

The most common signs and symptoms of norovirus are

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Watery or loose diarrhoea
  • Feeling ill
  • Low-grade fever
  • Muscle pain

Risk Factors of Norovirus

The most common risk factors of norovirus are

  • Eating in unhygienic places
  • Eating in places where food is mishandled.
  • Going to crowded nursery or school.
  • Living in congested areas or closed quarters.
  • Sharing rooms and spaces with people in hotels, resorts or cruises.
  • Having direct contact with an already infected person.

Preventive Measures of Norovirus

The most straightforward preventive measure to avoid contracting norovirus is to stay away from infected people. This can be done by avoiding overly crowded areas. The following preventive measures can help you stay away from norovirus

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or sanitize.
  • Avoid contaminated food and water.
  • Always wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Cook seafood properly.
  • Dispose of vomit and faecal matter or any other body fluid carefully 
  • Disinfect surfaces that can be contaminated. 
  • Stay home from work if you or your colleague has any symptoms.
  • Avoid travelling to rushy places.

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