What to Know About Norovirus
Commonly referred to as the stomach bug or stomach flu, norovirus is a highly contagious infection that affects the gastrointestinal system and causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other symptoms. It is estimated that 1 in 15 people will get infected by norovirus annually, with the virus infecting approximately 20 million Americans each year. Norovirus is at an all-time high. Read on to learn more about the signs and symptoms of norovirus, as well as how you can keep your family safe from infection.
Signs and symptoms
Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach virus that spreads through contaminated food and water. The virus can also spread through close contact with a person who is infected with norovirus, as well as by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces such as countertops and door handles. Norovirus is unique in that it can withstand extremely cold and hot temperatures, as well as being highly immune to common disinfectants.
Symptoms of norovirus typically occur within 12 to 48 hours of infection, and typically last up to three days. The most common symptoms of norovirus include:
- Stomach pain
- Low-grade fever
- Muscle aches
When to see a doctor
Norovirus typically goes away within one to three days without medical intervention. However, if you are experiencing severe dehydration or weakness due to the symptoms of norovirus, it is recommended to see a physician immediately. Those who are most at risk of complications due to norovirus include small children and elderly people, as well as those with weakened immune systems and pregnant women. A physician will likely administer an IV to get fluids back into the body to prevent further dehydration and monitor the patient for any other complications.
As with any contagious virus or disease, the key to prevention is maintaining proper hygiene and staying away from those who are infected. Regularly wash hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds, and wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before cooking to prevent contamination. Keep a safe distance of 6 feet or more from anyone who is contagious and regularly disinfect surfaces in the household that could be contaminated.
If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of norovirus, visit Midwest Express Clinic to speak with one of our expert physicians and get the treatment you need. To find a clinic nearest you, visit midwestexpressclinic.com/locations.