Norovirus 2023. A DANGER or A MYTH?

Norovirus 2023 is a seasonal virus that occurs in cold months. It is a typical viral stomach illness and it can spread anywhere, therefore, it is crucial to know how to find it and deal with it. 

Norovirus is like the stomach flu; however, it is not related to influenza. It causes digestive issues like vomit, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach pain. It can also cause aches with mild fever. The virus spreads by hands and surfaces and only a few particles can make someone sick, and the infected people shed billions of virus particles in their vomit and stool. 

Moreover, the germs of the virus can stay on surfaces for even weeks. A group of viruses makes norovirus that causes swelling of the lining of the stomach and intestines, severe gastroenteritis nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. 

Symptoms occur suddenly and are often severe. If you ever got norovirus, you must know how miserable it can make you.

Norovirus 2023 spreading in Northeast

Norovirus outbreak has been circulating in the Northeast over the last month. Since January, the region has been getting around 13% of norovirus tests positive. Unfortunately, it is a higher share as compared to the other parts of the United States. 

The cases and outbreaks were at their peak during March 2023, and the virus remained actively high in the late spring. The outbreak of the virus on ships reached the highest levels in January and June 2023. 

There were 13 confirmed norovirus cases on the United States cruise ships and it was more than the outbreaks in six months. Now, the Norovirus 2023 is having a 2023-2024 season with increasing cases in parts of the country as temperatures drop.

Norovirus outbreak has affected the U.S. during late 2023 and early 2024 during the winter season. Factually, the huge majority of norovirus outbreaks have occurred during November and April. The virus is very common during winter and is known as the winter vomiting disease. 

There was an uptick in travel and indoor gatherings during the holiday season, and that made germs of norovirus spread. Moreover, the virus is still affecting the country and it is unclear whether or not will it surpass the previous season’s peak.

Norovirus Outbreak – A Danger Behind Curtains in 2024

Norovirus spreads when an ill person vomits and someone else ingests the droplets. However, it doesn’t spread by inhaling particles, or by sneezing or coughing. The contaminated food also causes the virus and it is like food poisoning. 

Oysters can also become the cause of this virus if harvested from contaminated water. The catching stomach bugs are spreading across the northeast with the highest number of cases right now. Pennsylvania and parts of South Jersey are seeing outbreaks of Norovirus 2023 in which a gastrointestinal bug causes dangerous and painful symptoms. 

This stomach bug can infect around 20 million Americans every year, making emergency room visits annually, mostly to young children. 

The virus can spread anywhere by consuming contaminated water or food, contacting an infected person, or touching places or objects with the virus. Unfortunately, the virus is airborne so if you inhale it, you can become ill.

How Can You Prevent Norovirus 2023?

You can avoid the virus by isolating yourself when you feel sick and you must use a separate bathroom. Norovirus 2023 is very contagious and spreads easily but you can save yourself by washing your hands often because hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes don’t help in this case. 

Therefore, ensure disinfecting frequently touched surfaces with bleach and water solution to kill the virus. 

Expect Sudden Symptoms

The symptoms of Norovirus 2023 appear very soon after infection. It makes you feel well at once, and extremely unwell the next moment. 

You can get to know you are under the virus control if you face the main symptoms including uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea. It is because every infected person experiences diarrhea, but some have vomiting too.

Besides, the rare symptoms include chills with a fever or muscle pains. These symptoms leave healthy people as fast as they come, and typically last for 12-36 hours. 

Norovirus hardly spreads from asymptomatic people because symptoms arrive quickly, so you cannot get it from a family member or healthy roommate.

Look at Dehydration

The most dangerous effect of norovirus is dehydration and the replacement of missing fluids is important. If you are at your home, ensure to stay hydrated by drinking water every 15 minutes. You can take electrolyte drinks or powders. 

The dehydration symptoms include dry lips and mouth, a reduced rate of urination, dizziness, or fatigue. And, pale, tight, or cracked skin and lips are signs that dehydration is severe.

Although hospitalization is improbable, it can be essential if a disease-ridden person gets too dehydrated. Infected persons with severe dehydration can get kidney failure or life-threatening low blood pressure. 

Doctors will likely replenish your fluids and electrolytes during hospitalization. Sadly, no antibiotic can affect norovirus nor any antiviral medications that can be effective.

Help Yourself Recover after the Disease!

People can feel dehydrated or have persistent stomach issues even after the worst of the infection passes, due to the lack of beneficial bacteria in your gut. Norovirus 2023 can take weeks to months to reconstruct a healthy gut. 

It makes people face lingering symptoms like occasional cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and constipation. Doctors suggest helping your digestive tract recover by consuming a healthy and balanced diet, and fermented foods such as pickled vegetables and yogurt.

On the other side, babies under 12 months or weak people have a greater risk of more severe norovirus symptoms and are likely to get chronic norovirus, with the symptoms lasting even months. 

Doctors recommend young children and immunocompromised people get professional medical care if they face symptoms of norovirus 2023, particularly profuse diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sleepiness, or eating problems. Parents of kids should urgently seek medical attention if their child is behaving inappropriately.

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