HealthWinter's hidden peril: The resurgence of norovirus and how to protect yourself

Winter's hidden peril: The resurgence of norovirus and how to protect yourself

Winter stomach disease attacks
Winter stomach disease attacks
Images source: © Getty Images | © Vicki smith

8:23 PM EST, January 21, 2024

Noroviruses, the culprit of this disease, belong to a group of viruses that primarily cause acute gastritis and intestinal infections. These viruses are highly infectious and easily spread among people. Infections usually result from touching contaminated surfaces, eating contaminated food or water, or through direct contact with an infected person.

While infections can occur at any time during the year, the majority of cases are noted in winter.

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Symptoms of the Disease

The typical symptoms of the winter stomach disease include:

- Sudden onset of nausea and vomiting,

- Diarrhea,

- Stomach pains,

- Fever,

- Muscle pains and general weakness.

These symptoms generally appear 12 to 24 hours after infection, and may last from one to three days.

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Treatment for winter stomach disease is primarily aimed at easing symptoms and preventing dehydration. Key recommendations include:

- Drinking plenty of fluids, particularly water or electrolyte solutions,

- Observing a light diet and steering clear of heavy, fatty meals.

In the case of severe symptoms, a doctor may prescribe anti-vomiting and anti-diarrheal medications. In extreme cases, especially for children and the elderly, intravenous rehydration may be required.

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Preventive measures against norovirus spread include:

- Hand hygiene, especially after using the bathroom and before meals,

- Avoiding contact with affected individuals. Note that an infected person can still spread the virus up to a week after symptoms have subsided.

- Adhering to proper hygiene procedures when preparing meals,

- Steering clear of food or water from questionable sources.

The winter stomach disease, while an infectious disease, typically follows a mild course and seldom results in serious complications.

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