A vicious virus, the norovirus, has made life miserable this winter for pockets of the population across the country. The norovirus has many forms and strains so that people are sometimes stricken multiple times. There is neither a medication to treat it nor a vaccine to prevent norovirus infection.
Symptoms of norovirus infection may resemble the flu, but the flu is mild in comparison. It can also resemble symptoms of food poisoning. Norovirus causes extreme fatigue, stomach pain, severe vomiting and diarrhea, high fever and chills. It spreads quickly and is highly contagious, especially within households. It can spread through touching body fluids while cleaning up after a sick family member, in food or air contaminated by norovirus droplets, or simply from person-to-person contact. It can last for days.
Prevention of Norovirus Infection
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. Do so after using the toilet or changing diapers. Always wash thoroughly before handling or preparing food.
- Wear gloves while cleaning up after sick family members. Use chlorine bleach preparations when cleaning up hard surfaces.
- Continue strict hand washing for two weeks after catching norovirus infection, even when symptoms have mostly disappeared. The virus is still present in bowel movements for two weeks or more after the start of infection.
- While sick with norovirus, never prepare or handle food for others.
- Machine wash and dry all contaminated clothes and bedding.
Treatment of Norovirus Infection
There is no known treatment for norovirus infection. Drinking plenty of fluids is the best form of treatment. Over-the-counter rehydration fluids like Pedialyte are the best option to replace nutrients lost to vomiting and diarrhea.
If you suspect your child is becoming dehydrated, be sure to give us a call at 24/7 Pediatric Care Centers.