Have you ever heard of the Norovirus? As we get deeper into the heart of winter, this serious stomach bug is popping up more and more, all over the country including right here in Michigan.
The Norovirus is not your average flu. It can infect both children and adults of all ages (although it tends to be more harmful to younger children and the elderly) and is extremely contagious. It is a winter bug, in which November-April is the period of the year in which it occurs the most.
Symptoms of the Norovirus include:
- Abdominal pain
- Body weakness
- Forceful vomiting
- Muscle aches
In some rare cases, loss of taste can even occur. The virus can be transferred from person to person very easily. In most cases, people get infected with the norovirus by accidentally ingesting particles of stool or vomit from those already infected. This happens when people eat food or drink liquids that are contaminated with the norovirus, come in contact with people infected by it, or touch surfaces contaminated with it. Once contracted, inflammation of the intestines occur, which then leads to the above symptoms.
Just trying to clean up after someone who has become sick with the norovirus can lead to infection. There is also currently no prescribed treatment for the norovirus, so practice extreme caution when taking care of someone who has caught it. Doctors recommend using bleach when cleaning up after someone who has fallen ill with it.
The norovirus typically lasts for 2-3 days. It’s contagious for up to three days after symptoms have gone away, though, so those infected with it and those that are around someone who has been infected with it need to be very careful, even after the bug appears to have passed. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly (especially after changing a diaper or using the bathroom), wash all laundry thoroughly and clean and disinfect even more than you usually would to help prevent the bug from spreading.