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How to Fight Norovirus, the 'Cruise Ship' Germ

By Len Canter
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Jan. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Whether it's infiltrating a cruise ship, a restaurant or a college dorm, the norovirus is often in the news. It's the leading cause of illness from contaminated food in the United States.

While food can be tainted at its source, food workers who acquire the infection can unintentionally cause outbreaks as well, often by touching food with bare hands before serving it.

The virus causes gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and/or intestines. Symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting typically start within 48 hours of exposure. Though most people get better in a few days, norovirus can be serious in youngsters and older adults, because it can lead to dehydration.

Norovirus is very contagious. You can get it from sharing a fork with an infected person, eating contaminated food, or simply touching a contaminated surface. It's also easily passed through an infected person's stool or vomit. Though it's hard to imagine how you could come into contact with someone else's expulsions, researchers in North Carolina developed a machine that showed how violent vomiting can send a million small particles with pieces of the virus through the air.

To avoid getting or spreading norovirus, always wash your hands with soap and water before eating or handling food, and after using the bathroom or changing a baby's diaper. Wash all fruits and vegetables, too. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly since the virus can survive a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the virus strikes your family, wear rubber or disposable gloves to clean and disinfect surfaces. Launder clothes and linens using your machine's longest cycle, then machine dry them on high. Because the norovirus isn't a bacterial infection, antibiotics won't help. Focus on drinking fluids to prevent dehydration. And if you do get dehydrated, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the right way to rehydrate.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has detailed information on norovirus including recent outbreaks.

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved. URL:http://consumer.healthday.com/Article.asp?AID=741299

Resources from HONselect: HONselect is the HON's medical search engine. It retrieves scientific articles, images, conferences and web sites on the selected subject.
Infection
Vomiting
Dehydration
The list of medical terms above are retrieved automatically from the article.

Disclaimer: The text presented on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is for your information only and may not represent your true individual medical situation. Do not hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns. Do not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting a qualified healthcare professional.
Be advised that HealthDay articles are derived from various sources and may not reflect your own country regulations. The Health On the Net Foundation does not endorse opinions, products, or services that may appear in HealthDay articles.


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