The country experienced an increase in respiratory illnesses during the winter months. The CDC warns of an increase in norovirus cases as flu, cold, and COVID-19-related illnesses.
Officials in public health have noticed an increase in norovirus cases. This highly contagious virus causes the “stomach Flu.” This year’s number of cases is higher than in previous years. However, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a decrease in the number of people who were affected. We are now seeing normal trends that predate COVID-19.
The stomach flu is not the same as the influenza “flu”, which is mostly characterized by fatigue, fever and respiratory symptoms. The norovirus stomach virus has more intense symptoms and a shorter duration of illness.
These are the most common symptoms:
Although outbreaks can occur anywhere and anytime, they are more common in colder months and in crowded places like schools, hospitals, nursing homes and childcare centers.
The majority of people with the illness are able to resolve it themselves without any medical intervention. It can be very distressing and lead to rapid dehydration. It can cause serious complications, especially for young children and the elderly.
About half a million people are admitted to the emergency department each year with stomach flu to receive supportive care and to rule other potentially serious conditions like appendicitis.
The stomach flu is not the same as influenza. It is characterised mainly by fatigue, fever and respiratory symptoms. The stomach flu caused by norovirus is more severe and has a shorter duration.
Norovirus spreads largely from food and surfaces. It is the most common foodborne disease in the United States, and it is not like the respiratory spread of SARS-CoV-2 and influenza.
The most common foods that are affected by the outbreaks are leafy greens (lettuce), fruit, and shellfish. This highly contagious virus spreads easily from hands that aren’t washed after going to the toilet or vomiting, handling food or placing food on them. If not properly cleaned, norovirus can live on surfaces for several days and infect people. To reduce the spread of this nasty virus, aggressive handwashing and keeping surfaces clean are essential.
Some short-term protection is possible after the stomach flu. There are more than two dozen norovirus strains that have been identified to infect humans. Each variant has its own protection so you don’t necessarily get immunity from the other.
Once an outbreak occurs, it is almost impossible to prevent the spread of the disease. You can reduce the chance of infection and spread of the virus.
One in 15 Americans will contract norovirus stomach virus each year. It’s difficult to avoid. To reduce the chance of getting sick, keep in touch with your doctor. Fluid depletion can also be prevented by drinking plenty of fluids. Keep contaminated surfaces clean, and avoid group settings for 48 hours after your symptoms are completely gone.