What is norovirus? UKHSA warns of increase in cases

The dreaded winter vomit virus has taken over nurseries and nursing homes as those under five and over 65 seem to be the most common victims of outbreaks.

The Surveillance Director of the Department of Gastrointestinal Infections and Food Safety, Dr. Lesley Larkin, advised those who have been affected by the infectious virus to avoid visiting hospitals and nursing homes if they are unwell with norovirus symptoms and to wait for the symptoms to stop for 48 hours.

Here’s everything we know about norovirus, including its transmission, symptoms, and treatment.

What is norovirus?

The norovirus bug causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines, stopping the absorption of fluids from the cells lining the gut. However, unlike Salmonella, these cells are not killed, hence the faster recovery time.

The infectious virus can strike at any time and typically lasts between one and three days, but November through April is the most common time for most people to contract this virus.

It affects millions around the world and symptoms usually develop 12 to 48 hours after exposure.

What are the symptoms of norovirus?

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of norovirus are nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. They may also have a fever of 39°C or higher, headaches and body aches.

Symptoms usually begin suddenly, within a day or two of exposure.

How is norovirus transmitted?

The virus can only be transmitted when particles from vomit or feces are passed and ingested.

This can be done in a number of ways. You can become infected, for example, by consuming contaminated food or liquids. Alternatively, you can touch contaminated surfaces or objects and later bring them near your mouth or touch your face.

How long is the incubation period?

In humans, the incubation period usually lasts between 12 and 48 hours. Symptoms come on very suddenly but usually only last two to three days before the error goes away.

How can I prevent getting infected with the norovirus?

Hygiene has top priority to simply avoid contagion with the virus.

The easiest way is to practice proper hand hygiene, especially after using public transportation, using the toilet, or before handling or preparing food.

When preparing food, all fresh produce should be thoroughly washed and all surfaces wiped and disinfected before cooking.

It’s highly contagious. Therefore, when cleaning contaminated surfaces, use bleach-based household cleaners and handle clothing with plastic gloves. Wash these garments separately on a high setting to kill the germs.

How is norovirus treated?

Antibiotics don’t work for norovirus, but you can take painkillers to manage your pain.

The best thing you can do is drink plenty of fluids with electrolytes to help balance the salts in your body and stay hydrated.

Also, be sure to get plenty of rest and eat simple foods like bread and rice.

You should call 911 if you have diarrhea for more than a week or if it continues to vomit after two days, if you notice bleeding from your buttocks, show signs of dehydration, or if the patient is a baby under 12 months.

And if your vomit is red, dark brown, or green, you have a stiff neck and pain when exposed to bright light, or you have a sudden and severe headache or stomach ache, you should call 999 or go to the A&E.

Cash NHS Guide for more details on the treatments.

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/what-is-norovirus-ukhsa-warns-symptoms-prevention-treatment-a4029701.html What is norovirus? UKHSA warns of increase in cases


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