Norovirus is an extremely contagious illness that is most common in the Winter season. It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis and can cause 21 million cases every year on average in the United States. With COVID on the rise, the thought of another contagious illness can make anyone worry. AFC Urgent Care New Bedford has all of the information you need to avoid catching the Winter Vomiting Bug.
Causes & Transmission
There are currently 25 different known strains of Norovirus, and becoming infected with one does not mean you are immune from the others. The virus can be contracted through:
- Eating or drinking contaminated food or beverages
- Coming in contact with objects or surfaces that are infected, then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
- Having close contact, such as a handshake or hug, with someone who is infected
If someone throws up, the germs can be spread through the air, so it’s important to wash your hands and disinfect any surfaces frequently. It is possible to spread Norovirus for up to 8 weeks after exposure, though the chance of spread lessens as time passes. You can also be contagious before experiencing any symptoms. It is important to monitor for symptoms of dehydration, which is a significant risk of Norovirus. If symptoms last more than three days, or you start experiencing severe side effects from dehydration, call your doctor.
Treatment & Prevention
There is no medication that is used to treat Norovirus. The virus will typically go away on its own within one to three days. The best way to speed up recovery is by remaining hydrated and getting plenty of rest. It is possible to become dehydrated easily, which can lead to other health issues. The best way to prevent yourself or others from getting sick is by washing your hands frequently. If you live with someone who is ill, do not allow them to prepare food, and be sure to disinfect all touched surfaces. Wash clothing and linens properly to avoid contamination.
Norovirus is not the same as the flu, though they may have similar symptoms. A flu shot will not prevent you from catching Norovirus. It is possible to have Norovirus and the flu at the same time, so avoid contact with others if you experience symptoms of either illness.
More Information on Norovirus in New Bedford, MA
For more information on Norovirus, contact AFC Urgent Care New Bedford. Our clinic is located at 119 Coggeshall Street, New Bedford, MA, or you can call us at 508-990-1900.