Norovirus: Care and prevention

When it comes to norovirus, there is no need to set an appointment with a doctor if an adult or child is suspected with the condition. Take note that norovirus has no specific treatment. Antibiotics are not effective since it is a viral condition.

Those who are eager to visit a doctor will only put others at risk for acquiring the disease due to its contagious nature. With this in mind, it is best to get in touch with the doctor via a call if worried or feel that you need further advice regarding the condition.

When to seek further care

Norovirus

An individual with norovirus is highly contagious when the symptoms start up to 48 hours after all the symptoms passed, but they can also be infectious for a short period before and after this.

  • Infant or child has 6 or more episodes of watery stools in the past 24 hours or vomited 3 times or more in the past 24 hours.
  • Infant or child becomes feverish, less responsive or has mottled or pale skin.
  • Child has symptoms of severe dehydration such as passing of limited amount of urine or no urine at all and persistent dizziness. Infants and elderly face the highest risk for dehydration.
  • There is blood-streaked diarrhea
  • Symptoms do not improve after a few days
  • The child has a serious underlying condition such as a kidney disease along with vomiting and diarrhea.

In such circumstances, the doctor might require a stool sample that is analyzed in the laboratory to confirm if it is norovirus or another type of infection.

Spread of norovirus

Norovirus rapidly spreads in public venues such as nursing homes, hospitals and schools. Anyone can catch the condition if small-sized particles of feces or vomit from an infected individual enter the mouth such as the following:

  • Close encounter with an individual infected with norovirus since they might breathe out small particles that contain virus that others can inhale.
  • Eating contaminated food. This can occur if an infected individual does not wash hands before handling food.
  • Directly handling contaminated objects or surfaces. The norovirus can survive outside the body for a number of days.

An individual with norovirus is highly contagious when the symptoms start up to 48 hours after all the symptoms passed, but they can also be infectious for a short period before and after this. Take note that one can acquire the condition more than once since the virus is always changing, thus the body could not establish long-term resistance to it.

How to prevent norovirus

Despite these preventive measures, it is not always possible to avoid the condition, but these can help limit the spread of the virus.

  • An infected adult or child must avoid school or work until at least 48 hours after all the symptoms have passed. In addition, avoid visiting anyone in the hospital during this period.
  • Wash any bedding or clothing that might be contaminated separately using the hot wash setting to ensure that the virus is eliminated.
  • Frequently wash hands thoroughly using water and soap especially after using the toilet and before preparing food. Do not depend on alcohol gel sanitizers since they could kill the virus.
  • All objects or surfaces that might be contaminated should be disinfected using a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Avoid sharing flannels and towels.
  • Any infected feces or vomitus in the toilet must be flushed and cleanse the adjacent area thoroughly.
  • It is best to avoid consuming raw, grimy produce and only eat oysters from a depending source since oysters are known to carry norovirus.

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