Noroviruses or Norwalk virus causes inflammation of the large intestine lining and the stomach, and considered as the main culprit of gastroenteritis in the U.S. Norwalk virus is named after the town of Norwalk, Ohio where the virus originated in 1972.
Norwalk virus or noroviruses are often called food poisoning as they can be transmitted though foods that have been contaminated with the virus. But, they are not always the result of food contamination. These viruses are also called stomach flu, but they are not influenza virus.
What Causes Norwalk Virus Infection?
Individuals can get infected with the virus if they drink fluids or eat foods that have been contaminated particularly raw fruits and vegetables, and raw or undercooked oysters. Individuals can also get infected with Norwalk virus if they touch their nose, eyes, and mouth after touching surfaces or objects that have been contaminated with the virus.
The 5 Most Common Symptoms
Individuals infected with Norwalk virus can suffer gastroenteritis within 24 hours. Symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting, and loose and watery bowel movement. Other symptoms include abdominal cramps, low fever, headache, and aching muscles. Children infected with Norwalk virus may have diarrhea that can lasts for about a week, which results to dehydration. Vomiting and high fever are also significant to young children infected with the virus. The most common symptoms of Norwalk virus infection include:
1. Low-Grade Fever
2. Muscle Aches
Most Norwalk virus symptoms are not serious, but vomiting and diarrhea can deplete the fluids in the body, which results in dehydration. Elderly and children are susceptible to dehydration, and malnutrition for not getting the right amount of nutrients.
Individuals with Norwalk virus infection symptoms can be given by their doctor with a stool test in order to conform for the presence of the virus in their stomach. Nevertheless, diagnosis for norovirus infection is made through symptoms. In addition, some people infected with norovirus may not demonstrate any symptom, which means that they have natural immunity to the virus.
Top 4 Norovirus Infection Preventions
Because norovirus infection is transmitted, it means that it can be prevented. Probably, good hygiene is the primary key to preventing norovirus infection, particularly if you are in closed surroundings with many other people. Wash your hands more often with clean water and soap, or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers after holding objects and surfaces in public areas.
1. Dispose any contaminated items with safety precautions, especially dirty baby and adult diapers.
2. Wash raw vegetables and fruits thoroughly before preparing them. As for oysters and other shellfish, cook them is necessary before you eat them.
3. If someone gets sick and fully recovered, clean and disinfect surfaces with a mixture of chlorine and detergent.
4. If you’re infected with norovirus, don’t prepare for you and your family’s food for at least two to three days or until you fully recovered. Do not eat foods that have been prepared by someone who is also sick.
If you are infected with Norwalk virus, you will go down from being healthy to sick, and it’s highly important to consult your doctor to get immediate medical attention, and to cure the illness.