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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

As for me and my house, we shall drink lots of fluid and wash our hands

This is the Norovirus. Pretty, isn't it? And, pretty awful.

If you or someone you know who is elderly and in frail health or has a compromised immune system due to chronic illness or chemotherapy, please use extra precaution.

You can read all about the Norovirus here, or here.

This is a nasty disease even for a healthy person. That second link is to a study that was done which links the spread of Norovirus to computer keyboards.

Here's some helpful information from the Department of Health in Minnesota. Please do take good care of yourselves.

What is norovirus?

Noroviruses are a group of viruses (previously known as Norwalk-like viruses) that can cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

This infection is often mistakenly referred to as the “stomach flu” – it is not related to the flu (influenza), which is a common respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms of norovirus infection include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Less common symptoms can include low-grade fever or chills, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms usually begin 1 or 2 days after ingesting the virus, but may appear as early as 12 hours after exposure. The illness often comes on suddenly. The infected person may feel very sick and vomit often, sometimes without warning, many times a day. Sometimes people infected with norovirus have no symptoms at all, but can still pass the illness to others.

How long does it last?

Most people recover in 1 or 2 days and have no long-term adverse health effects. Sometimes, infected people may experience milder symptoms for a week or more.

How is it spread?

Noroviruses are found in the stool (feces) or vomit of infected people. From there, noroviruses are transferred to food, water, or surfaces by the hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom.

People become infected with norovirus by:

Eating food or drinking liquids contaminated by an infected person.
Eating uncooked shellfish that has been harvested from contaminated waters.
Touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their mouth or eating without washing their hands first.

What should I do if I have symptoms?

Drink plenty of fluids so you don’t become dehydrated.
Wash your hands often.
Contact your health care provider (but remember that antibiotics don’t treat viruses).

How can I prevent norovirus infections?

Wash your hands often!
After using the bathroom
After changing diapers
Before preparing foods
Before eating
Wash your hands more often when someone in your household is sick.
Clean and disinfect surfaces with household bleach immediately after vomiting or diarrheal accidents.
Wash and/or peel fruits and vegetables before eating them.
Steam oysters before eating them.
Avoid preparing food for others while you have symptoms and for at least 3 days after you recover.


Suzer said...

My partner and I had this a few weeks ago. It was definitely Not Fun.

Anonymous said...

What we're having out here in the west is not intestinal... it's bronchial. And it lasts, and lasts, and lasts! All my friends in San Diego have, or have had, it. People all over Long Beach & Los Angeles. Nam is over his bout of it, but mine lingers... going on six weeks now. Coughing up "stuff" seems to have stopped, but the bug is still bugging me. It's nasty!

Caminante said...

Huh, that seems to have been what was making the rounds of Executive Council; I'd say 1/4 came down with the stomach bug. Nasty.

just another piskie said...

I was down last week with what a friend in the UK called the "Winter Vomiting Virus." I think that's the best name for it I've heard. It comes in winter, it's a virus, and it has you tossing your cookies until you never want to think of cookies again. (Just upper digestive, not lower.) I had it actively for 24 hours, then it took 24 hours to get eating normally again, and another 24 hours were needed before I was ready to deal with people again.