Norovirus is the medical term used for a stomach bug, which is one of the most common causes of viral gastroenteritis and can cause a person’s life to be a disaster. This is because when you are dealing with symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, it is very tough to live a normal life.
Moreover, norovirus is likely to increase across the United States in early 2024 because norovirus activity tends to peak during the colder months of winter. When you analyze the history, you can notice that most outbreaks of norovirus or stomach bug have occurred between November and April.
According to Dr William Schaffner, some other intestinal viruses are more common in the summer, but norovirus often occurs in the winter season. Dr. William Schaffner is a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Also, the holiday season is going on during the winter season, which increases indoor gatherings and traveling and increases the risk of stomach bug spread.
Is Norovirus Airborne? How Does It Spread?
Stomach bugs can be spread easily because you only need a few virus particles to get infected. However, it mainly spreads through the fecal-oral route, which means if germs from fecal matter end up on our hands or surfaces and then go into someone’s mouth, then they can get infected. According to Dr. Ali Alhassani, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, a stomach bug can come directly from an infected person or indirectly through things like dirty surfaces, objects, and contaminated food and drinks.
You may find it surprising to know that infected people can release billions of norovirus particles. Also, you don’t need a lot of virus particles to get infected, and that is why stomach bug outbreaks can be very dangerous. Additionally, most people can spread the virus from the time they start feeling sick until about two or three days after they get better. Moreover, some infected people can stay contagious for up to two weeks after recovering.
The outbreaks of norovirus or stomach bug often happen in crowded places like schools and hospitals. Thus, children at school are at higher risk of getting infected and people at hospitals have to take extra precautionary measures to prevent themselves.
Why The Cases Of Stomach Bugs Increased After COVID-19?
The cases of stomach bugs or norovirus were controlled during the pandemic because the measures we took to stop COVID-19 also helped to control the spread of stomach bugs. However, in the 2022-2023 season, the cases of norovirus or stomach bugs started going up again. Also, there was a big increase in the cases of stomach bugs around December, and by February and March of 2023, the cases reached the highest point. Moreover, the number of stomach bug cases stayed high in the United States until late spring.
Also, the outbreak took place in many schools, which affected children and other staff. One reason for this outbreak might be that many kids who didn’t get the stomach bug for a few years were then exposed to norovirus and other viruses that are common in schools during the winter and spring seasons. Also, the increase in travel after the pandemic might be a reason for the increased cases of stomach bugs.
Symptoms Of Stomach Bugs
If you want to know whether you have a stomach bug or not, then you have to analyze its symptoms. Here, we will explore the symptoms of stomach bugs or norovirus that will help you identify your specific condition. Thus, take a glance at these symptoms, and if you are experiencing them, then isolate yourself to prevent your loved ones from getting infected.
If you are experiencing abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, then there is a chance that you have a stomach bug. Moreover, nausea is also one of the symptoms of stomach bugs. Additionally, some symptoms like headache, body pain, and fever are less common but often associated with stomach bugs or norovirus.
Therefore, if you or someone you know are suffering from such conditions, then consulting a doctor will be a wise decision. Moreover, if you are experiencing these symptoms, then isolate yourself and improve your hygiene because you can be contagious and infect others.
Prevent The Spread Of Stomach Bug Or Norovirus
There is no vaccine available to prevent norovirus, and if you want to prevent the spread, then you have to take several steps. For instance, hand hygiene is very important, and it must be done with soap and water. Thus, wash your hands with soap and water after using the restroom, before eating or cooking, and after taking care of someone with norovirus or stomach bug.
Moreover, clean surfaces that might have norovirus and use strong disinfectants for this. Additionally, if you are infected with norovirus or stomach bug, then isolate yourself at home to prevent spreading it and stay home until you feel better. You must have practiced these measures during the outbreak of COVID-19, and you have to do the same to prevent stomach bugs. If your condition reaches a severe level, then immediately consult a doctor.
The outbreak of stomach bug or norovirus is one of the most common issues during the winter and spring seasons. However, the cases of stomach bugs were limited during the pandemic era because people were taking precautionary measures like hand hygiene, masking, and distancing. But as soon as the pandemic effect subsided, people stopped following precautionary measures, and the cases of norovirus started increasing.
Above, we have explained all the details of stomach bug or norovirus that can help you deal with the situation. Moreover, we have explored the symptoms of norovirus that will help you understand whether you are infected with norovirus or not. Additionally, we have suggested some precautionary measures that will help you protect yourself and your loved one from getting infected with a stomach bug.
- Capece G, Gignac E. Norovirus (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513265/). 2022 Aug 8. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island, FL: StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Accessed 2/3/2023.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Norovirus (https://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html). Accessed 2/3/2023.