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What do you need to know about norovirus?

April 25, 2017

norovirusNo, contrary to commonly-held beliefs, norovirus is not some computer thing that Russian hackers used to compromise the 2016 election. It’s the actual medical term for what’s usually called the stomach flu by many people. You know, the illness that is highly contagious, easily spread and especially dangerous to young people and older adults.

What is it?

Norovirus causes swelling in your stomach and the lining of your large intestine. It is the primary cause of gastroenteritis, an intestinal infection that often results in severe cramps, vomiting and fever. (If you’re looking for a band name, “Severe Cramps Vomiting and Fever” is about as good as it gets. Feel free to steal it.)

If you’ve ever had food poisoning (and who hasn’t?), chances are that it was caused by norovirus, as it is easily spread through the contamination of food.

How does it spread?

Most people contract norovirus while consuming food that contains the virus, such as undercooked shellfish or undercooked meat, or even raw fruits and vegetables. Basically every all-you-can-eat buffet you’ve ever encountered is a roll of the dice. But the virus can also spread if you touch a surface such as a picnic table that has the virus, and then touch your nose or mouth. We dare you to not think about that the next time you’re jockeying for an outdoor table at your favorite bar.

Norovirus is a persistent virus, which means it can survive high heat, and remains “live” on surfaces for several days. It’s like the cockroach of the viruses. And once you have the virus, it is very contagious and spreads by activities such as skin-to-skin contact or through sharing food and cutlery. In short, we should all live in bubbles, our bodies coated in hand-sanitizer, never coming in contact with another human.

What are some common symptoms

Norovirus symptoms often appear within two days of exposure, and they are ridiculously unpleasant—diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and severe stomach cramps. You may also develop a fever and experience headaches and body aches, similar to how you feel when you have the flu.

How is it treated?

You’ll probably hate this, but there is no magic pill you can take to get rid of norovirus, because it is not a bacterial infection—antibiotics are useless against it. Our norovirus treatment plan is for you to drink a ton of liquid. Why? Because those nasty symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting rob your body of water and can quickly lead to dehydration.

So the treatment is simple: plenty of fluids and rest and pretty much toughing it out unless the dehydration gets severe, in which case you should call us right away.


The best prevention against norovirus is hygiene, so:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you eat, prepare food and after using the bathroom.
  • Thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before you eat them.

  • Wash your hands with soap and water before you eat, prepare food and after using the bathroom.
  • Cook shellfish properly using a thermometer.
  • Did we mention washing your hands with soap and water before you eat, prepare food and after using the bathroom?

Innovative Express Care all about getting you well when you are not 100 percent, and we offer urgent care and primary care with almost no wait times. We are fast, friendly and affordable and you can even book your appointment online!

Image Source: James Palinsad

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