Every year, millions of people all over the
world get norovirus. It can be contracted any time of the year and can spread very easily
from person to person. So what is norovirus? Well, it’s more commonly known as the stomach
bug or stomach flu. It can lead to gastroenteritis and can present symptoms such as diarrhea,
nausea and even fever. For most adults, it typically passes within a few days. But in
children it can get worse, and it’s important to keep an eye on them. Dehydration is the
main symptom to look out for because it can be hard to keep in fluids. Dr. Goddy Corpuz,
a pediatrician at Baylor Scott & White Health in Cedar Park, TX, spoke with us for more
about the norovirus. It spiked about a decade ago when we started
giving rotavirus vaccine. Rotavirus used to be the number one cause of vomiting and diarrhea
in children and dehydration. And because we were vaccinating against it and we’ve developed
it, it’s kind of gone off, and norovirus took over. And unfortunately there is no vaccine
for norovirus yet. It can cause inflammation in your gut. And
so what happens is, when you have that inflammation you’re not able to absorb fluids well. And
so when you drink or eat, it just passes in and out. Symptoms of norovirus include nausea, vomiting,
abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhea, low-grade fever and muscle pain. According to the Mayo
Clinic, there’s no specific treatment for norovirus infection, and recovery generally
depends on the health of your immune system. For most healthy adults, symptoms typically
last 2-3 days. For children, it’s important to keep track of how many days symptoms last,
and if they’re staying hydrated. Dr. Corpuz lets us know when to seek medical help.
Definitely when kids are having fevers more than 3-5 days. If they’re showing signs
of dehydration their eyes are sunk in, their lips are pretty dry, they haven’t had a
wet diaper or haven’t gone to the bathroom in about 12 hours or so, very decreased energy,
lethargic. All those if you have signs of dehydration. Unfortunately with a virus we have to let
it run it’s own course. The main thing is fluid hydration. So drink plenty of fluids.
I always tell my parents, you can give your kids pedialyte or electrolyte solutions. So how does the norovirus spread and how can
we prevent it? Contaminated surfaces, contaminated food.
And being in close contact with someone. Frequent hand washing with soap and water.
Alcohol gels on some occasion is allowed. Preparation of food, make sure it wasn’t
done by someone who’s sick and so getting them from reputable sources, because sometimes
they are contaminated. We always tell kids too, not to touch surfaces and then putting
their hands in their mouth without washing them first. The stomach flu is never fun. It can happen
any time of year anywhere in the world and spreads from person-to-person very easily.
So it’s important to keep surfaces, food and laundry clean. If you have the norovirus,
Dr. Corpuz recommends keeping your kids and yourself at home. The only food product Dr.
Corpuz says to avoid is dairy products and spicy foods because those foods can exacerbate
diarrhea. When traveling be sure to continue proper hand washing and maybe keep a travel
sized alcohol gel. If you plan to travel outside of the country, Dr. Corpuz recommends drinking
only out of bottled water and to make sure your food is prepared in sanitary conditions.
As a reminder, there is currently no medication to fight off the norovirus, it just has to
run it’s course. For dailyRx, I’m Gabe Garza.