Health District warns of Norovirus - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Health District warns of Norovirus

Posted: Updated:

By David Miller
with information from the SW Health District

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) –  At least one Albany area nursing home is experiencing a norovirus outbreak, and is taking steps to deal with it. This "stomach bug" virus is extremely contagious.

Some schools in southwest Georgia are also reporting some norovirus infections.

 A thorough cleaning is the best remedy for norovirus. The Health district urges everyone to ‘wash those hands.'

  • Here is what the Centers for Disease Control has to say about norovirus:

Norovirus are a group of viruses that cause the "stomach flu," also known as gastroenteritis. Norovirus are not affected by treatment with antibiotics and cannot grow outside of a person's body.

 

Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramping

 

            Symptoms may also include

-                      Low-grade fever

-                      Chills

-                      Headache

-                      Muscle aches

-                      A general sense of tiredness

 

Severity

The illness often begins suddenly, and the infected person may feel very sick. In most people the illness is self-limiting with symptoms lasting for about 1 or 2 days. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults. Usually there is no long-term health effects related to the illness.

 

However, sometimes people are unable to drink enough liquids to replace the liquids they lost because of vomiting and diarrhea. These persons can become dehydrated (lose too much water from their body) and may need special medical attention. During norovirus infection, this problem with dehydration is usually only seen among the very young, the elderly and people with other illness.

 

How norovirus spread

Norovirus are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated with norovirus
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus, and then placing their hand in their mouth
  • Having direct contact with another person who is infected and showing symptoms (for example, when caring for someone with illness, or sharing foods or eating utensils with someone who is ill)

 

When symptoms appear

Symptoms of norovirus illness usually begin about 24 to 48 hours after ingestion of the virus, but they can appear as early as 12 hours after exposure.

How contagious norovirus are

Norovirus are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. Both stool and vomit are infectious. Particular care should be taken with young children in diapers who may have diarrhea.

People infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days after recovery. Some people may be contagious for as long as 2 weeks after recovery. Therefore, it is particularly important for people to use good hand washing and other hygienic practices after they have recently recovered from norovirus illness.

Who is at risk of norovirus infections

Anyone can become infected with these viruses. There are many different strains of norovirus, which makes it difficult for a person's body to develop long-lasting immunity. Therefore, norovirus illness can recur throughout a person's lifetime. In addition, because of differences in genetic factors, some people are more likely to become infected and develop more severe illness than others.

Treatment

  • There is no vaccine to prevent norovirus infection
  • There is no drug to treat people who are infected with the virus.
  • Antibiotic drugs will not help if you have norovirus infection.
  • This is because antibiotics fight against bacteria not viruses

 

Dehydration

During norovirus infection, young children, the elderly, and people with other illnesses are most at risk for dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration in adults and children include a decrease in urination, a dry mouth and throat, and feeling dizzy when standing up. A dehydrated child may also cry with few or no tears and be unusually sleepy or fussy.

  • Severe dehydration may require hospitalization for treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids
  • The best way to protect against dehydration is to drink plenty of liquids
  • The most helpful fluids for this purpose are oral re hydration fluids
  • Other drinks that do not contain caffeine or alcohol can also help with mild dehydration. However, these drinks may not replace important nutrients and minerals lost due to vomiting and diarrhea.

Prevention

  • Frequently wash your hands, especially after toilet visits and changing diapers and before eating or preparing food
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them
  • Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner
  • Immediately remove and wash clothing, towels or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap)
  • Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean
  • Persons who are infected with norovirus should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for 3 days after they recover from their illness
  • Food that may have been contaminated by an ill person should be disposed of properly

 

(Source: CDC)

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