Norovirus, a highly contagious stomach bug, causes inflammation of the small intestine and stomach (gastroenteritis) that can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain. In the United States, norovirus contributes to 19-21 million illnesses annually and 50% of all foodborne disease outbreaks. Norovirus is a common infection and generally clears up within a few days without treatment. However, it can be severe and even fatal in young children, elders, pregnant women, and people with existing health conditions or weakened immune systems.
Therefore, knowing norovirus symptoms and causes will help you treat it on time, preventing life-threatening complications.
Norovirus can spread in several ways, including:
You won’t develop any symptoms as soon as you contract the virus. It will take 12-48 hours (33 hours on average) between initial exposure and onset of symptoms. Nausea is usually the first sign of norovirus infection, and following that, you may experience abdominal cramping, vomiting, etc.
The Norovirus stomach bug can be detected in your stool after 48-72 hours of the onset of symptoms. In some cases, the virus may stay in stool for two weeks or longer. In such circumstances, you can spread it to others, even without developing symptoms.
Symptoms of Norovirus include:
Your risk of getting a norovirus infection may increase with:
Your healthcare provider will usually diagnose your norovirus infection with your symptoms or may order a stool test if you have existing medical conditions or a weakened immune system.
Like other viral infections, there is no specific treatment or medication for norovirus infection. However, there are ways to help you manage symptoms and prevent dehydration, including:
Avoid excessive physical activity and get plenty of sleep to help your body quickly recover from the infection.
Drink plenty of fluids (containing electrolytes) to replace lost fluids. Avoid sugary drinks that may worsen your diarrhea and beverages that cause dehydration, like coffee and alcohol. Consider receiving IV fluids if you cannot drink enough oral fluids to prevent dehydration.
Eat healthy foods, such as egg, rice, pasta, plain noodles, cooked vegetables, chicken, fish, potatoes, fresh fruits, yogurt, and bread.
Follow these tips to reduce your chance of contracting norovirus:
People with mild or moderate symptoms don’t require treatment, as they will go away in a few days. However, visit your doctor if:
Norovirus is highly contagious and could be fatal in extreme cases for some people, especially children. It’s important to identify its warning signs and take adequate prevention measures to keep you and your family safe.
Whether you have persistent vomiting, diarrhea, or other symptoms of norovirus or food poisoning, visit us at the 8-2-8 Urgent Care walk-in clinic in Oceanside, CA, today. With our appropriate diagnosis and medical assistance, we will quickly treat your symptoms to improve your health while preventing further complications.