In connection with a severe and sometimes life-threatening infection of the stomach and intestinal tract of the same name, noroviruses and the resulting norovirus infection have recently been discussed.
What is norovirus infection?
Noroviruses are the focus of what is known as norovirus gastroenteritis in relation to stubborn diarrhea. Due to this fact, the norovirus can lead to serious complications in the elderly and children. See aviationopedia for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Explanations.
The noroviruses are considered to be very infectious, which means that the norovirus infection is one of the communicable and contagious diseases. The Novovirus is an extremely viable virus, which consists of three types in total. Within these individual types there are in turn about 20 subspecies of norovirus.
The norovirus infection can also spread so extremely quickly because the human immune system cannot build up a natural defense. Norovians are considered to be extremely resilient. The prerequisite for this is their astonishing and almost frightening ability to change.
The norivores, the cause of norovirus infection, survive by a route of transmission known as fecal-oral. This means that a person who already carries the norovirus will shed the carriers in their feces.
Oral contact takes place through the intake of noroviruses through the mouth. This transmission path of the noroviruses for the norovirus infection is based on direct contact between the infected and the healthy person. In addition, people can become infected through various foods that contain the noroviruses, which are ingested through the mouth when eating.
How dangerous noroviruses are is shown by the fact that a quantity of 10 noroviruses is already sufficient to develop a norovirus infection.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The first signs of norovirus infection are sudden abdominal pain and nausea, followed by spasmodic vomiting and diarrhea. All the typical symptoms of gastroenteritis appear. The patient feels extremely ill, is tired and weak, and is barely able to get out of bed or stand upright. There are also headaches and body aches and every movement hurts.
Body temperature may be slightly elevated, true fever is rare. Depending on the general health of the body, the symptoms can be stronger or weaker. In babies, children and older adults, whose organism is more susceptible, the acute phase of the disease can be very severe and possibly even life-threatening.
The severe loss of fluids caused by diarrhea and vomiting can show signs of dehydration, such as dry skin and mucous membranes, tachycardia or reduced urination. Seizures, circulatory problems or kidney failure can also occur as a result of dehydration.
In severe cases, the extremely strong bowel movements can even cause the bowel to invaginate, causing colicky abdominal pain and requiring medical supervision. If the course is normal, the symptoms subside after about 12 to 48 hours. In some people, the norovirus infection runs completely without symptoms or only with very weakened symptoms.
course of the disease
After the penetration of the noroviruses into the organism, the incubation phase occurs first, in which the noroviruses multiply. After this incubation period, which usually lasts no longer than 2 days, the first symptoms of norovirus infection appear.
In addition to acute severe diarrhea and vomiting without prior impairment of well-being, norovirus infection is characterized by an extreme loss of body fluids. This goes hand in hand with a shift in the electrolyte balance, which causes circulatory failure and a partial or complete loss of function of various organs due to the noroviruses.
A classic sign that persists throughout the course of norovirus infection is persistent vomiting diarrhea. Norovirus infection can quickly lead to death, especially in infants, children and people weakened by age or illness.
Infection with norovirus rarely causes complications. If they occur, small children and older people are particularly affected, who then need appropriate medical care. Noroviruses are very dehydrating due to their ability to cause diarrhea and vomiting.
Accordingly, care must be taken to ensure an increased intake of liquid and nutrients. If this is not done, the body can be severely weakened by the loss of water and electrolytes. This can lead to seizures, thrombosis and shock.
Dehydration can lead to cardiovascular failure, which can be fatal. Damage to the internal organs is also possible due to dehydration and a metabolic imbalance in the cells. Organs that participate in metabolic cycles are particularly affected. These include, for example, the kidneys and the liver.
If the body can no longer withstand the brief but severe symptoms of the disease, death is imminent. However, this is the case in less than 0.1 percent of the diseases and can be easily prevented by providing sufficient water and food. Most people who ultimately die from complications from norovirus are over 80 years old.
When should you go to the doctor?
Even if the infection with noroviruses causes severe watery diarrhea and vomiting as a result, it heals in principle after a few days without a doctor’s visit without complications. However, there are cases in which going to the doctor is advisable. This is the case, on the one hand, with severe symptoms and, on the other hand, if the patient belongs to certain risk groups.
Anyone who has an infection with noroviruses often loses a lot of fluid and thus electrolytes through diarrhea and vomiting, which can lead to cramps and poor circulation. If the lack of fluids or electrolytes cannot be compensated for by drinking enough, a visit to the doctor makes sense: He can compensate for both with an infusion of sufficient quantity. The symptoms then often improve quickly.
Patients at risk should consult a doctor when infected with norovirus and make use of his professional monitoring and treatment. There is an increased risk for older people, for newborns and small children, for pregnant women and for people with concomitant diseases such as cardiac insufficiency or diabetes. Cancer patients, especially if the immune system is currently weakened by chemotherapy, should also be taken care of immediately by a doctor if they are infected with noroviruses.
Treatment & Therapy
Everyday measures such as drinking plenty of fluids containing minerals and electrolytes are suitable for treating norovirus infection. If this is not possible by mouth when the patient is severely debilitated, then infusions are a suitable alternative to restore the electrolyte and fluid balance.
The liquids ingested during norovirus infection also have a beneficial effect in flushing the norovirus out of the intestine. Other therapeutic measures for norovirus infection are rest and no physical exertion. Diet food is designed to keep the body strong during a norovirus infection. In addition, special liquids or infusions containing sodium chloride, potassium chloride and dextrose or glucose can protect groups of people who are at high risk from circulatory failure caused by a norovirus infection.
In order to combat both vomiting and diarrhea at the same time, norovirus infection is combated by administering anti-vomiting and anti-nausea drugs called antiemetics. Antibiotics do not work against norovirus.
Outlook & Forecast
For people with a generally healthy and stable immune system, the prospect of recovery from norovirus infection is good. In these cases, the body’s own defense system can successfully defend itself against the pathogens after a few days, even without medical care. If you comply with a few specifications, it is often possible to document a slowly beginning relief of the symptoms within three days.
A healthy diet and sufficient rest are important for this. However, medical care should be used to help and support a shortened healing process. By administering medicines, the viruses can be prevented from spreading more quickly and at the same time they die faster. Recovery is then usually possible within a few days or weeks.
The weaker the immune system of the affected person and the more pre-existing conditions, the less favorable the prognosis. In the case of a severe course of the disease, risk patients in particular are at risk of premature death. There is an increased risk in newborns, children, chronically ill and elderly patients. People over the age of 80 are particularly at risk of not surviving the infection, since the organism is severely weakened here. Immediate medical care is therefore necessary in the event of a medical emergency or an acute health development.
As part of the preventive measures against norovirus infection, both people in their private environment and public institutions are required. Basically, there is no vaccination against the norovirus.
The spread of norovirus can only be contained if hygiene is the top priority. Cleaning, or even better, disinfecting hands after going to the toilet and intensively cooking foods that may contain noroviruses are extremely effective prophylactic measures to avoid norovirus infection.
Primarily raw fish and various seafood often carry the norovirus. Protective clothing and compliance with hygiene regulations are essential in communal facilities to avoid contracting the norovirus.
The norovirus infection often runs without complications, but is still often associated with severe symptoms and a significant weakening of the body of those affected. Targeted aftercare can significantly accelerate regeneration. This includes, above all, replacing the liquid that is usually missing in the body due to vomiting and diarrhea.
In order not to put even more strain on the sensitive gastrointestinal system after infection with the norovirus, sugary and acidic drinks such as lemonades or fruit juices should be replaced with water and herbal teas. An addition of electrolytes such as magnesium or potassium through dietary supplements is usually not necessary if the patient pays attention to a balanced diet.
The weakened body after the norovirus infection is often noticeable through circulatory problems. With quiet walks in the fresh air, the circulation can slowly be activated again. On the other hand, sweat-inducing activities are just as much better avoided as hot tub baths or saunas. A restful sleep with a sufficient number of hours is also important in the follow-up care.
Once the gastrointestinal tract has stabilized, a healthy and vitamin-rich diet with vegetables helps to strengthen the immune system again in the long term. This is often particularly successful if nicotine and alcohol are avoided. Flea seed husks are a natural remedy when the regulation of disturbed digestion requires gentle support.
You can do that yourself
In order to replace the fluid and electrolytes lost through vomiting and diarrhea during a norovirus infection, care must be taken to ensure adequate fluid intake. Still mineral water, unsweetened herbal teas or a lightly salted broth are particularly suitable for this. Patients should avoid sweet drinks such as cola, which is often recommended as a household remedy.
In the case of more severe symptoms, special solutions for liquid and electrolyte substitution are available in the pharmacy. Children and the elderly are particularly prone to dehydration – if they are unable to get enough fluids, they may have to be given an IV in the hospital.
During the acute phase of the disease, the stomach and intestines should be stressed as little as possible: rusks and oatmeal are well suited as sick food. Even after the symptoms have subsided, the digestive system usually still reacts quite sensitively to high-fat or spicy foods: It is therefore advisable to eat easily digestible light foods in the first few days. Bed rest and physical rest help the body to fight the norovirus.
If the symptoms continue unabated after two to three days or even worsen, a doctor’s visit is urgently recommended. Due to the high risk of infection, contact with other people should be avoided as far as possible. Increased hygiene measures such as thorough hand washing and disinfecting the toilet also reduce the risk of transmission.