Norovirus is a super contagious virus, it is sometimes called the winter vomiting disease. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads you to have stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea and to throw up. BTW, that pretty descriptive art piece is from the CDC. 😉
There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral (not a bacterial) infection. If you have norovirus illness, you should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from throwing up and diarrhea. This will help prevent dehydration.
Sports drinks and other drinks without caffeine or alcohol can help with mild dehydration. But, these drinks may not replace important nutrients and minerals. Oral rehydration fluids that you can get over the counter are most helpful for mild dehydration. Dehydration can lead to serious problems. Severe dehydration may require hospitalization for treatment with fluids given through your vein (intravenous or IV fluids). If you think you or someone you are caring for is severely dehydrated, call the doctor.
Spoiler alert – Hand sanitizers are not effective against norovirus.
Norovirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in the United States. Each year, it causes 19-21 million illnesses and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths. Norovirus is also the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. It can be serious, especially for young children and older adults.
The best way to help prevent norovirus is to practice proper hand washing. In addition to washing hands after every bathroom visit, wash fruits and vegetables before eating them. clean and disinfect food preparation equipment and surfaces, and thoroughly cook all meats, fish and poultry.
A great CDC video can be used to educate your friends, family and employees: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ey_OV_-pBeo