What is Norovirus?

The concept of the “stomach flu” is a misconception. Yes, you feel like your insides are coming out but it is not the flu. The norovirus is highly contagious during the incubation period (the first 24 to 48 hours).

You may think that it is something you ate that is giving you these problems but that may not be the case. The virus has been linked to cruise ships but that is mainly because it is the first place that has been looked at. Thousands of people all in one place for a period of a few days to a week always increases the chances of, well, everything. But simply being on a cruise ship won’t predispose you to the norovirus.

What will you feel? You may present with vomiting, which is often the next thing after nausea sweeps over you. There are often the symptoms of a low-grade fever, chills, and body aches much like the flu when it first comes on you. You may also develop abdominal pain.

There are differences. The norovirus is a group of viruses that attack the digestive system. It is also known as “winter vomiting.” The influenza virus is mainly a respiratory condition.

Once you have it, you may feel bad for as little as a day or as many as three days. During this time, it is important to stay hydrated. One cause of complications with viral illnesses like this is the fact that we stop eating and drinking altogether. Lack of hydration can keep organs from performing at their best and lead to them shutting down in some severe cases.

Get some rest. Rest allows the body time to shut down all non-vital systems to get the immune system working to fight the invaders. If you are moving around, the chances are that your condition will last longer.

Avoiding It

The best cure is prevention. Since the condition is passed through contact with feces from contaminated people and animals, washing your hands is a big deterring measure. Wash hands after being around an infected person. Wash fruits, veggies and other foods well before cutting or eating them.

Stay healthy. You can do this by consuming a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables (properly washed) and less processed foods. Also, get plenty of exercise to improve circulation and overall body function.

The norovirus is misidentified as the stomach flu but it can feel like the respiratory flu that most people get in winter. Protect yourself with hand washing, food washing and other simple measures.