Did you know that Norovirus is the primary cause of gastroenteritis in more than 20 million people in the United States? Otherwise known as the winter vomiting bug, the Norovirus is also responsible for 570 to 800 deaths and 56,000 to 71,000 hospitalizations every year.
Affecting people of all ages, Norovirus is a contagious virus that can cause diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. The Norovirus infection can easily spread through touch, drinks, and food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 70% of norovirus outbreaks are a result of direct contamination by food handlers suffering from the virus itself. If not treated on time, Norovirus infection can lead to reflux, dyspepsia, constipation, and malnutrition. Here is everything you need to know about the infamous winter vomiting bug, colloquially referred to as Norovirus.
How Do You Get Norovirus?
A Caliciviridae family virus is responsible for spreading the Norovirus. Once the winter vomiting bug finds a host, it causes inflammation and swelling of the intestine and stomach, leading to a medical condition known as gastroenteritis. Just like any other virus, Norovirus can spread in several ways, including:
● Coming into close contact with someone with the Norovirus.
● Drinking or eating contaminated beverages or foods.
● Touching your nose or mouth after coming in contact with a contaminated surface or object.
● Eating foods that are naturally contaminated with the Norovirus, such as oysters.
Is Norovirus Contagious?
The Norovirus infection is highly contagious, meaning that it can easily spread from one person to another. When the virus infects your body, it releases tiny airborne particles that can make everyone in the room sick. While it is permitted to return to school or work after two days of recovery, you must remember that the virus can shed for up to 8 weeks. Hence, it is advised to make sure that you stay at a safe distance from people for two weeks after the symptoms have ended.
What Are Norovirus Risk Factors?
The following people are at a higher risk of getting the Norovirus infection:
● People living in semi-closed or closed communities like retirement centers, hospitals, or nursing homes.
● People staying in a vacation resort, cruise ship, or hotel.
● Parents with children studying in pre-school.
● Living in a house with people having poor hygiene habits.
● People with a weak immune system.
● People who have HIV.
● People who have undergone an organ transplant.
What Are the Symptoms of Norovirus?
The symptoms of Norovirus are likely to appear between 12 to 48 hours following exposure to the infectious particles and can last for up to 3 days. Some common Norovirus symptoms are listed below:
● Stomach pain
● Body aches
While most Norovirus patients recover without complications, older adults and young children might develop severe symptoms requiring hospitalization. Vomiting and diarrhea caused by the Norovirus infection can deplete the patient’s body of essential fluids, causing dehydration. Overall, the Norovirus symptoms are the same in adults and children. However, children might vomit more than adults. Whereas older people might experience more severe diarrhea than kids.
Norovirus | Diagnosis and Treatment
Once you come to the hospital, the healthcare provider will ask you about the symptoms and will request a stool test to confirm the diagnosis. Norovirus is a self-treatable infection. Thus, taking over-the-counter medication or antibiotics isn’t recommended. Here are some tips to help you manage Norovirus symptoms:
● Get plenty of rest.
● Drink lots of fluids to stay hydrated such as Pedialyte, Oralyte, Naturalyte, Kao Lectrolyte, and Infalyte.
● Eat soft, bland food like pasta, soup, bread, and rice.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Norovirus?
Practicing good hygiene is the key to reducing the risk of getting infected by the Norovirus. Here are some tips to help you out:
● Wash your hands with hot water and soap frequently.
● Avoid coming in contact with people who have the Norovirus infection.
● Wash your clothes thoroughly.
● Clean and sanitize all frequently used objects and surfaces with a diluted bleach solution.
● Always wash vegetables and fruits before eating.
● Cook food at an appropriate temperature (62.77 degrees Celsius or 145 degrees Fahrenheit).
● Make sure to isolate yourself as soon as the symptoms surface.
● Return to work two days after the Norovirus symptoms have stopped.
● Carefully remove infected vomit and feces from the property.
● Keep the toilet seats down.
● Use disposal towels to minimize exposure to Norovirus particles.
Note that washing your hands with warm water and soap kills the Norovirus particles more effectively than using a sanitizer. If you have been diagnosed with the Norovirus, avoid preparing food for others to minimize the spread of infection.
Are You Looking for a Norovirus Attorney?
Norovirus is the number one cause of vomiting and diarrhea in the United States. With over 21 million Norovirus cases reported every year, there is a high chance that you could be among those affected. Norovirus has food poisoning-like symptoms that can take a toll on your physical and mental health. In fact, missed work days and medical costs due to the Norovirus are to blame for a financial loss of $2 billion annually.
Newland & Newland, LLP has helped secure more than one million dollars in Norovirus case settlements. So, if you are suffering from Norovirus and have a nursing home facility, cruise line, or restaurant to blame, the food poisoning attorneys at Newland & Newland, LLP have you covered. Filing a lawsuit will not only compensate you for the missed workdays, medical bills, and mental anguish but will also protect others from foodborne illness. To schedule a free consultation, visit our website or contact the Illinois food poisoning attorneys today!