What Causes A Stomach Virus
Several things can cause a stomach virus:
- Norovirus: This is the main cause. This represents a family of viruses.
- Rotavirus: This is a viral infection. This is common in babies and young kids.
Viral stomach infections are contagious. It is easy to get and give a stomach virus. It is spread by contact with an infected person, surface, or object. Stomach viruses are likely to spread at places with a lot of people. This includes schools, daycares, nursing homes, airplanes, cruise ships, and hospitals. Stomach viruses are common in cold weather months.
Norovirus Is A Very Contagious Virus That Causes Vomiting And Diarrhea People Of All Ages Can Get Infected And Sick With Norovirus
People with norovirus illness can shed billions of norovirus particles. And only a few virus particles can make other people sick.
- Having direct contact with an infected person
- Consuming contaminated food or water
- Touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth
You can get norovirus illness many times in your life because there are many different types of noroviruses. Infection with one type of norovirus may not protect you against other types. It is possible to develop immunity to specific types. But, it is not known exactly how long immunity lasts. This may explain why so many people of all ages get infected during norovirus outbreaks. Also, whether you are susceptible to norovirus infection is also determined in part by your genes.
Health Department Warning Residents Of Norovirus Outbreaks In Region
Officials with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan are warning residents of several norovirus outbreaks occurring in the area, and in conjunction are offering precautionary measures to keep summer dining experiences safe.
Noroviruses are a group of viruses that cause gastroenteritis in people. The most common way to become infected with norovirus also known as the “stomach flu” is through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water. Norovirus illness usually begins 24-28 hours after exposure, but can appear as early as 10 hours after exposure.
The illness is usually brief, with symptoms lasting only 1-2 days. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping, low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness.
It should be noted a norovirus infection is not related to influenza , which is a respiratory viral illness that can cause fever, cough, chills, headache, muscle aches, runny nose and sore throat.
The flu is where youre in bed, aching for several days, said Dr. Joshua Meyerson, medical director for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan regarding a previous norovirus outbreak in 2019. Viral gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, is more of a 24- to 48-hour virus. The flu vaccine will protect you from the respiratory flu, but it wont do anything for the stomach flu.
If those symptoms become severe, health experts recommend seeking medical attention.
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How Is Norovirus Spread
Norovirus spreads very easily in public places such as hospitals, nursing homes and schools.
You can catch it if small particles of vomit or stools from an infected person get into your mouth through:
- close contact with someone with norovirus who may breathe out small particles of the virus that you then inhale
- touching contaminated surfaces or objects, as the virus can survive outside the body for several days
- eating contaminated food, which can happen if an infected person doesn’t wash their hands before preparing or handling food
Norovirus is most infectious from the start of symptoms until 48 hours after all symptoms have stopped. You may also be infectious for a short time before and after this.
You can get norovirus more than once because the virus is always changing and your body is unable to build up long-term resistance to it.
How Can You Stop It From Spreading
Good hygiene is key to preventing the spread of Shigellosis.
- You should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water after using the toilet and at regular intervals throughout the day.
- Help children to wash their hands properly.
- If you need to clean a childs potty, wear gloves when handling it and dispose of the contents in the toilet. Be sure to wash the potty with hot water after each use.
- Stay away from work or school until you have been symptom-free for at least 48 hours.
- Do not go swimming until you have been free of symptoms for two days.
- Avoid sexual contact until symptom free for 48 hours.
When To Call Your Doctor
Food poisoning and viral gastroenteritis can become severe enough to require medical attention. However, Dr. Thomas says, in most cases, people can effectively manage either condition with proper rest, hydration and at-home medical treatment. But call your doctor if youre unsure whats causing your symptoms or if youre having high or persistent fevers.
Also keep in mind that other health issues can mimic the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis or food poisoning. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you experience any of the following:
- Bloody stool or bloody vomit
- Inability to keep any fluids down
- Diarrhea lasting more than three days
- Fever above 104 degrees
- Severe abdominal pain
How To Tell If Your Upset Stomach Is A Viral Infection
An upset stomach can be a result of many things. When symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and fever, chances are it’s a viral infection.
“A viral gastroenteritis, which we sometimes call ‘a stomach bug‘ or ‘a stomach flu,” is a common reason for having an acute onset of vomiting and diarrhea, and sometimes with fever,” says Dr. Tina Ardon, a Mayo Clinic family medicine physician. The viral infection is most commonly spread through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water.
Ensuring you stay hydrated is imperative. Dr. Ardon says a person can become dehydrated quickly, even with a couple hours of vomiting or diarrhea. “When we say dehydrated, we’re usually referring to a significant amount of fluid losseither from vomiting or diarrhea.”
It’s important to stay hydrated with fluids, but what about eating?
“Most patients have heard of something called the “BRAT diet,” which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, toastbasically indicating blander foods, softer foods that are gentler on the stomach,” says Dr. Ardon. “However, studies actually show that if you’re starting to feel better, resuming a normal diet is very appropriate. So one can consider that versus restricting their diet if they’re otherwise feeling better.”
Most cases of viral gastroenteritis will last about a day or two, and will resolve on their own.
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What Kinds Of Viruses Cause Viral Gastroenteritis
Many different viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis. The most common causes of viral gastroenteritis include
- norovirus. Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis. Symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after you come into contact with the virus and last 1 to 3 days.2
- rotavirus. Symptoms usually begin about 2 days after you come into contact with the virus and last for 3 to 8 days.3Vaccines can prevent rotavirus infection.
- adenovirus. Symptoms typically begin 3 to 10 days after you come into contact with the virus and last 1 to 2 weeks.4
- astrovirus. Symptoms typically begin 4 to 5 days after you come into contact with the virus and last 1 to 4 days.5,6
Norovirus causes infections in people of all ages. Rotavirus, adenovirus, and astrovirus most often infect infants and young children, but they can also infect adults.
Viruses may cause viral gastroenteritis any time of the year. In the United States, norovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus are more likely to cause infections in the winter.
What Is Shigellosis
Shigellosis – also known as Shigella or bacillary dysentery – is highly infectious and is usually passed from person to person. It is caused by Shigella bacteria – which is closely related to Salmonella.
Anyone can catch it – but it is more common among children, particularly those in school or childcare settings.
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What You Can Do
If you think you have norovirus, Traylor said the best thing you can do is get tested for COVID-19 because both begin with gastrointestinal symptoms.
If your COVID test is negative, doctors can give you medicine to help deal with symptoms. However, the best cure for norovirus is time. Most people recover within three days.
How Are Noroviruses Spread
Noroviruses are spread through close contact with infected people. For example, noroviruses spread through changing diapers, sharing eating utensils, eating foods or drinking liquids that are contaminated with the virus, or touching infected surfaces or objects and then putting your hands in or near your mouth. Stomach viruses can also spread quickly in group settings like nursing homes, schools, day care centers, and dormitories.
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Handle And Prepare Food Safely
Carefully wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and eating them. Cook oysters and other shellfish thoroughly before eating them.
Be aware that noroviruses are relatively resistant to heat. They can survive temperatures as high as 145°F. Quick steaming processes that are often used for cooking shellfish may not heat foods sufficiently to kill noroviruses.
Food that might be contaminated with norovirus should be thrown out.
Keep sick infants and children out of areas where food is being handled and prepared.
How Can You Get Norovirus
Norovirus is transmitted by any kind of contact that causes the virus to enter the mouth. You can pick it up directly from contact with another person, by touching an infected surface and then touching your mouth or by eating contaminated food or water. Its frequently found in places where there are a lot of people, and the most common places for outbreaks to occur are health care facilities, restaurants and schools or daycare centers. Cruise ships account for only 1 percent of overall outbreaks.
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Gastric Flu Outbreak Spreads In Britain
Britain is in the grip of a gastric flu outbreak which has spread from hospitals in Scotland to the south coast, health chiefs said today.
Levels of the virus, which has already affected 12 hospitals in Scotland, are higher than those recorded in the past, said the Public Health Laboratory Service.
The number of people struck down with the viral infection on hospital wards was today expected to rise amid reports of the bug in Manchester, Hertfordshire, Sussex, Dorset and Cornwall. There was also a similar case in Birmingham earlier this month.
So far, Glasgow’s Victoria Infirmary has been worst hit with 283 patients and staff hit by the illness.
It has forced emergency admissions to the hospital to be diverted to the city’s Southern General Hospital until further notice.
Gastric flu, also known as winter vomiting disease, is caused by a contagious virus that results in projectile vomiting and diarrhoea.
PHLS spokesman Simon Gregor said the bug was present across the country all year round although “we are seeing an increase among baseline levels”.
But he was unable to pinpoint specific areas of the outbreak or confirm the amount of patients involved.
“The virus which causes this – the small round structured virus – is the most common cause of gut infection in this country,” Mr Gregor said.
Fears that the bug may be spreading across the country were fuelled when several more hospitals in Scotland confirmed patients had been affected.
Norovirus And Stomach Bugs Outbreak: Symptoms And What Nhs Says To Do
People suffered from ‘norovirus like symptoms’ at a recent lego event in Bristol as the 2019 UK outbreak continues
A nasty stomach bug is ‘dropping people like dominoes’ across the South West recently.
Dozens of reports are coming in of an outbreak in a nasty illness that is very similar to the highly contagious norovirus throughout November and into December.
Cases have been reported across the UK, including at a huge lego event here in Bristol.
In response Public Health England and the NHS advise people who believe they are ill to contain themselves and follow strict hygiene procedures.
People have reported projectile vomiting, diarrhea, and suffering aches, pains and headaches.
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Practice Proper Hand Hygiene
Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- especially after using the toilet or changing diapers,
- always before eating, preparing, or handling food, and
- before giving yourself or someone else medicine.
Norovirus can be found in your vomit or feces even before you start feeling sick. The virus can also stay in your feces for two weeks or more after you feel better. It is important to continue washing your hands often during this time.
You can use hand sanitizers in addition to hand washing, but you should not use hand sanitizer as a substitute for washing your hands with warm water and soap. Handwashing is always best.
Hand sanitizers arent as effective as washing hands with water and soap at removing norovirus particles. See Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives.
Become A Fluwatch Sentinel Practitioner
The sentinel flu-like-illness surveillance system is FluWatch’s primary source for outpatient flu surveillance data in Canada.
Physicians, nurse practitioners and registered nurses who are involved in primary care are welcome to become FluWatch sentinel practitioners.
Learn more about the FluWatch sentinel practitioner program or e-mail to sign up.
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How Is It Spread
Noroviruses are very contagious. They are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. From there, noroviruses are transferred to food, water, or surfaces by the hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom.
People become infected with norovirus by:
- Eating food or drinking liquids contaminated by an infected person.
- Eating uncooked shellfish that has been harvested from contaminated waters.
- Touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their mouth or eating without washing their hands first.
What Is The Treatment
Fortunately, although the symptoms are nasty, Shigella is rarely serious. There is no magic cure, so those unlucky enough to pick up the bug will have to let it run its course. But there are things that you can do to ease the effects.
Treatment is usually plenty of fluids to ensure that dehydration doesnt occur. It is also recommended to use oral re-hydration solutions if necessary.
However, it is best to steer clear of anti-diarrhoea medications as they can make symptoms much worse.
Over the counter painkillers can help relieve pain and reduce temperature.
Anyone with the infection should stay at home until at least 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea to minimize the risk to spreading the bacteria.
In cases where there is blood in the diarrhoea, antibiotics may be needed.
If a child contracts Shigellosis, it is important that the family GP is contacted, and any children that have caught the bug should stay at home for at least five days until tests confirm that they are clear of the infection.
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How Can We Stop It
The gold standard method is washing your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water.
I suspect many of us have become a bit complacent with handwashing and instead are slapping on alcohol-based hand sanitiser when we can, although this is anecdotal.
However, even though hand sanitiser is convenient, it doesnt work as well against norovirus as thorough handwashing does.
One study even suggests that using both methods simultaneously washing your hands with soap and water and also applying hand sanitiser actually increases the number of bacteria on your hands, though the exact way this occurs is unknown.
Its best to simply wash your hands for 20 seconds. But disinfecting surfaces is also important. If someone in your home or workplace is vomiting due to a gastro type illness, make sure you very quickly disinfect the nearby surfaces. You want to wear gloves and properly disinfect surfaces using hot water with a detergent, or even bleach, both of which can kill norovirus.
Parents, childcare workers and teachers should also teach kids good hygiene and handwashing skills. And, for us grownups, we should follow our own advice.
Norovirus Causes And Risk Factors
People become infected with noroviruses when they eat or drink contaminated foods and beverages. Raw or undercooked oysters and raw fruits and vegetables have been blamed in some outbreaks. You can also get infected if you touch an object or surface that has been infected with the virus and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes.
Noroviruses thrive in close quarters, such as restaurants, day-care centers, and nursing homes, because they are hardy and highly contagious. They can survive temperature extremes in water and on surfaces.
Once someone is infected from contaminated food, the virus can quickly pass from person to person through shared food or utensils, by shaking hands, or through other close contact.
When someone with the virus vomits, the virus can spread through the air and contaminate surfaces. The virus also spreads through feces, meaning someone who doesnât thoroughly wash their hands after using the bathroom can pass it along. Dirty diapers can also harbor norovirus.
Young children, the elderly, and people who have weakened immune systems are particularly more vulnerable to noroviruses. The spread can be hard to control because it’s contagious before symptoms appear. In other words, you can spread the virus before you know youâre sick.
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Dr. Joan Thode offered the following advice:
You cannot tell the difference between COVID-19 and the common cold based on symptoms, unfortunately. COVID-19 symptoms in kids can vary greatly, including runny nose, coughing, sore throat, fevers, diarrhea, fatigue, body aches and headaches. Many viral illnesses include these symptoms as well. The only definitive way to diagnose COVID-19 is by a nasal swab.
Testing is still most accurate two to four days after the start of symptoms, but its important to bring a child to medical attention as soon as possible if there are any signs of respiratory distress or increased work of breathing.
Reasons to bring your child to medical evaluation include: five consecutive days of fever respiratory distress or increased work of breathing fevers that come back before cold symptoms have fully improved cough that does not improve after about two weeks nasal drainage that returns after getting almost all better.