June 17, 2021

How Do You Know If You Have a Norovirus Infection?

Norovirus is the most common type of food poisoning, causing about 685,000,000 case worldwide every year. The virus is extremely contagious and is passed through contaminated food and drink, through contact with contaminated surfaces, and through person-to-person contact.

How Do You Know If You Have a Norovirus Infection?

Most people with this infection do not require medical care, but some people, especially those in high risk groups such as the elderly, the very young, and people with chronic health conditions may become dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea and need hospitalization. In children under the age of five, mostly in developing countries, this infection causes about 50,000 deaths every year.

Symptoms of norovirus include:

Nausea

Vomiting

Diarrhea

Stomach pain

Fever

Headache

Body aches

Symptoms start quickly after a person is exposed to the pathogen, usually within 12 to 48 hours. Most people get better with a day or two.

Dehydration is the serious complication that can occur with this infection. Symptoms of dehydration include little or no urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when you stand up. Young children who can’t communicate symptoms may seem sleepy or fussy or may cry with few or no tears.

Since a norovirus infection can occur with just a few viruses, it’s important that people follow food safety rules to prevent spreading this illness. First, never prepare food for others if you are sick, especially with a diarrheal illness. Wait for a few days after symptoms completely disappear before you go into the kitchen, although that may not be enough, since some studies show norovirus can be transmitted for two weeks or more after recovery.

Second, it’s crucial that everyone wash their hands thoroughly before preparing or serving food. Tiny amounts of feces or vomitus can contaminate food and make other people sick. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, after caring for someone who is ill, and before making food and eating.

Finally, stay home from work or school if you are sick. That’s one of the best ways to prevent the spread of any disease, not just norovirus.

Now that you know the symptoms of a norovirus infection, you can feel more confident taking care of your family. However, if you aren’t sure if the illness is norovirus or another type of illness or another type of food poisoning, call your doctor.

 

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