Norovirus, often referred to as the stomach flu, is a highly contagious infection that affects your stomach and intestines, leading to symptoms like nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Norovirus is spread easily, and unfortunately it doesn’t take a large exposure to be infected. It’s a bit of a nightmare to go through, but the good news is, it only lasts one to three days. If you want to feel better faster, we have norovirus remedies for you, from foods to eat, what to drink, and things you should avoid.
What is Norovirus?
Norovirus, sometimes called the stomach flu or stomach bug, is a common virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. It’s super contagious and spreads easily through people and contaminated food and surfaces. Norovirus can affect anyone at any age, and outbreaks can happen at any time, but they occur most often in the colder months, from November to April.
What Causes Norovirus?
A virus in the Caliciviridae family causes norovirus. This virus, when it enters the body, makes your stomach or intestines swell and become inflamed. This is a condition called gastroenteritis, which leads to the symptoms of norovirus. Although norovirus is also referred to as the stomach flu, it is not related to the flu, which is caused by influenza virus.
Norovirus spreads very easily and quickly. It can spread from infected people to others, as well as through contaminated foods and surfaces. Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people, and from there can transfer to food, water or surfaces from the hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom.
What Are the Symptoms of Norovirus?
The most common symptoms of norovirus are:
- Stomach pain
You may also experience:
- Body aches
How Long Does Norovirus Last?
A person typically develops norovirus 12 to 48 hours after being exposed to the virus and most people will get better within one to three days, with no long-term side effects.
Can I Catch Norovirus More Than Once?
Unfortunately, yes, you can catch norovirus more than once. This is because the virus is constantly changing, so your body is unable to build up long term resistance to it. There’s typically a short period of time immediately after infection that you’re protected from reinfection, but this is only temporary.
6 Norovirus Remedies to Help You Feel Better Sooner
1. Stay Hydrated with Electrolytes
Staying hydrated is super important if you have norovirus. Since it causes vomiting and diarrhea, it can lead to dehydration and a loss of minerals. Serious dehydration is a concern for babies, children, older adults and people with compromised immune systems.
However, anyone with norovirus should focus on hydration. Replenish lost fluids by drinking lots of water, as well as fluids high in electrolytes, such as sports drinks and coconut water. You can also add pink Himalayan salt to your water to replace lost electrolytes.
2. Get Lots of Rest
If you have norovirus, one of the best things you can do is get plenty of rest. You won’t be able to do much anyways, so allow yourself to stay in bed or rest on the couch until you feel better. Your body needs rest and sleep to recover and feel better.
3. Follow the BRAT Diet
Even the thought of food can be rough when you have norovirus, but if you feel like you can get something down, keep it plain and simple. The BRAT diet- bananas, rice, applesauce and toast- is known to be great for an upset stomach. These foods are easy to digest, contain carbs to give you energy and replenish nutrients like potassium. Saltine crackers are also a good option as they’re a plain food that can help boost sodium.
4. Eat Chicken Soup
If you feel like you’re not ready to transition to solid foods yet, broth based soups, like chicken soup, have a very high water content, which can help with hydration. They’re also a great source of sodium, an electrolyte that quickly depletes with frequent vomiting and diarrhea.
5. Drink Herbal Teas
Herbal teas like ginger and peppermint, can help calm your stomach and alleviate nausea, while also keeping you hydrated. Ginger is known for its ability to help with nausea. Grate some fresh ginger root into hot water and brew it as a tea. Peppermint has also been found to be great for nausea, which can help you feel better if you have norovirus.
6. Avoid Certain Food and Drink
There are certain food and drink you should make sure to avoid if you have norovirus. Steer clear of alcohol, and don’t drink anything with caffeine, which can act as a diuretic and affect your sleep when you need to be getting adequate rest. You’ll also want to stay away from dairy, fibre, grease and spices, as all of these can be hard on your stomach.
When to See a Doctor
If you or someone you’re caring for experiences severe vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration can be an urgent danger. Young children, older adults and people with other medical conditions are particularly at risk for severe dehydration and may require medical attention. If your baby or child is less responsive, feverish or has pale or mottled skin, call your doctor or head to the emergency room.
If you have diarrhea that doesn’t go away after a few days, get in touch with your doctor. You’ll also want to seek medical attention if you experience severe vomiting, bloody stools or severe stomach pains.
Norovirus is not fun at all. Fortunately, it only lasts a few days and you’ll start feeling better soon. Try these remedies to help you feel as good as possible while battling norovirus.
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