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Winter's Battle Plan: Protecting Your Health from Deadly Norovirus

Dr.Ayushi Bansal 311 Views
Updated: 05 Feb 2024
Published: 29 Jan 2024
Protecting Your Health from Deadly Norovirus

Winter vomiting is a term used to describe a particular type of vomiting and diarrhoea that is more common in the colder winter months and spreads like the stomach flu or cold. It is because of the very contagious norovirus. Although your symptoms have a different source, they may resemble those of the stomach flu.

The norovirus is easily transmitted by intimate contact, infected food or contaminated surfaces. The norovirus doesn't need vaccination but clears up in less than three days.

Symptoms of Norovirus

Frequent signs of a norovirus infection include:

  • Cramping in the stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Low-grade fever or chills are less frequent symptoms.

Although they can start as early as 12 hours after exposure, symptoms often indicate for 1 or 2 days following virus ingestion. Usually, the sickness strikes suddenly. The affected individual may experience severe nausea and frequently vomit, sometimes uncontrollably, many times a day.

Some Advice to Stop the Norovirus From Spreading

  1. Maintain Good Hand Hygiene

    Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling, preparing and eating food. Also, wash your hands after using the restroom and changing diapers.

    In addition to washing your hands, you can use hand sanitisers with good alcohol content.

  2. Thoroughly Clean Fruits, Vegetables and Seafood

    Wash the food items with care before preparing and consuming them.
    Before consuming oysters or any other shellfish, thoroughly cook them.
    Recognise that noroviruses have a fair amount of resistance. They can withstand rapid steaming methods, frequently used to cook shellfish, and temperatures as high as 140°F.
    Food that appears to be norovirus-contaminated ought to be thrown out. Infants and kids who are ill should not be around areas where food is handled or cooked.

  3. Don't Cook for Others When Contaminated with Norovirus

    During your illness and for at least two to three days following your recovery, you should refrain from cooking for other people or giving medical attention. This holds for unwell employees at childcare facilities, schools and other establishments where they might spread norovirus.

  4. Disinfect and Clean Contaminated Surfaces

    Clean and disinfect any contaminated surfaces when you have diarrhoea or throw up. Use a chlorine bleach solution that has been tested to be 1000–5000 parts per million (ppm; 5–25 teaspoons of home bleach [5.25%] per gallon of water) or another good and reliable disinfectant as being effective against norovirus.

  5. Carefully Wash Your Laundry

    Any clothing or linens that might be contaminated with stool (faeces) or vomit should be removed immediately and washed.
    Wearing rubber or disposable gloves while handling dirty goods and washing your hands afterwards are recommended. You should also clean the items with detergent for the longest cycle time possible before machine drying them.

Risk Factors and Causes of Norovirus

The following risk factors may raise a person's risk of contracting the norovirus:

  • Immune systems that are compromised, such as those who have received an organ transplant or are HIV positive and live in a home whose members do not adequately follow food hygiene guidelines
  • Living in a closed or semi-closed community, like a nursing home, hospital or retirement centre; travelling in a hotel, cruise ship or vacation resort where many people congregate; and having a child who attends a creche or preschool.

The most typical reasons why people develop norovirus infections are:

  • Contaminated food items.
  • Any item that is ready to eat that has been handled by a worker with a norovirus infection, including salads, ice cream, cookies, fruits and sandwiches; any meal containing vomit or faeces particles from a norovirus patient.

Summing Up

You can take precautions to keep yourself and your family safe from the norovirus, even if the risk of infection increases with the winter months. Above all, stomach flu treatment is essential, like keeping yourself clean by washing your hands and avoiding direct contact with sick people.

Furthermore, carefully wipe surfaces like door handles and countertops that can be infected with the virus. Last, if you are sick, then stay home to avoid infecting other people. You may contribute to the safety of your loved ones and yourself this winter by heeding this advice.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

  1. What distinguishes the stomach flu from the norovirus?

    Answer:- The gastroenteritis caused by the norovirus is sometimes called the stomach flu. Not gastroenteritis, but respiratory flu is caused by the influenza virus.

  2. How many varieties of norovirus are there?

    Answer:- The norovirus comes in various varieties or strains. It belongs to the family of Caliciviridae viruses, which causes gastroenteritis, or inflammation of the stomach and intestines. There are ten groups and 48 types in this family. GII.4 is the most typical type.

  3. What impact will winter vomiting have on my hospital care?

    Answer:- Hospitals will continue to provide excellent care if you fall ill on the ward, but they will also try to keep staff, visitors and other patients safe from getting sick. Until you feel better, hospital staff may postpone any planned investigations or procedures. You may be placed in a separate room or an area with others who share the same condition until you get better.

  4. What is the most common season for the growth of norovirus?

    Answer:- Most typically, norovirus outbreaks happen in nations above the equator between November and April and in countries below the equator between April and September. In most cases, there is no set season for epidemics in equatorial regions.

  5. Do family members need to take extra precautions when visiting norovirus-affected patients?

    Answer:- The goal is to maintain clean, infection-free ward spaces. Before and after meeting patients, everyone entering and leaving the ward areas is advised to use their hands and use the frequent alcohol hand rub often.

    Nevertheless, hand sanitisers do not work to rid hands of the virus that causes winter vomiting. Instead, we suggest everyone use liquid soap products to wash their hands at the sinks under running water. When guests visit you, they should take additional care to wash their hands at the washbasin before entering and leaving the ward area to prevent the spread of flu and stomach bug. The ward staff will inform you and your guests if there is anything else that they need to do.

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