Norovirus: What is it, how to prevent getting sick?

Sick

Norovirus illnesses are being seen across the country, but its is nothing outside of the seasonal norms, CNN reported.

The hardest hit region is the Northeast, with more than 13% of tests being positive. The rate has been steady for the past month. But it is still lower than the same time frame last year, which was at about 15%, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Still, norovirus can be miserable for those who contract it, how can you prevent getting sick, or if prevention doesn’t work, how do you get through feeling like you can’t keep anything down.

What is norovirus?

According to the CDC, norovirus “is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.”

Anyone can contract it.

It can be called the “stomach flu” but despite the name, has nothing to do with influenza.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain

There can also be a fever, headache and body aches. Some cases can cause inflammation of the stomach or intestines, called acute gastroenteritis.

The symptoms usually start 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus and take between 1 and 3 days to subside. The virus, however, can still be transmitted a few days after the symptoms go away.

The symptoms may cause other issues such as dehydration which affects young children, older adults and people with other conditions. If a child becomes dehydrated, they may be fussy, sleepy and cry with few or no tears, the CDC said.

Other symptoms of dehydration include:

  • Decreased urination
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Dizzy when standing up

How can you prevent norovirus?

The best way to prevent norovirus is to watch your hands with soap and water, clean and disinfect surfaces using bleach and use hot water in the laundry.

Don’t depend on hand sanitizer to combat norovirus. It can be used in addition but not as a substitute for washing your hands, the CDC said.

If you are sick, don’t prepare food or take care of others. You can still spread the illness 2 days after symptoms stop.

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