Norovirus: What It Is & How To Prevent It
The norovirus (aka the winter vomiting bug) is the collective name given to a group of viruses that cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pains. Some people will also experience flu-like symptoms of aching limbs, elevated temperature and general weakness.
It's highly contagious with an incubation period of 12 to 48 hours (from picking up the virus to displaying symptoms), then experiencing symptoms, typically, between 12 to 60 hours.
The virus is spread through fecal matter and vomit (these can become airborne particles) and can survive for several days on surfaces touched by an infected person. Cooking destroys it, but raw foods washed with contaminated water or prepared by an infected person can carry the virus.
The best forms of prevention are:
- Washing hands frequently is the best form of prevention, using soap and hot water. Antibacterial hand gels are not enough to combat the virus but are better than nothing. Soap and water do not kill the virus, but dislodge it from your skin, therefore vigorous washing and rinsing is the best tactic.
- Avoid touching surfaces that may be contaminated whenever possible and wash your hands thoroughly after contact. Be aware that door handles, elevator buttons, light switches, subway poles, and remote controls could all be carrying the virus.
- Use a light bleach solution to wipe down surfaces in your home. If anyone in your home is infected, use diluted bleach in the toilet after each visit.
- Wash all fruit and vegetables really well before eating.
- Do not prepare food if you are unwell and for three days after recovery.
- Do not share towels or sheets. Any clothing, bedding or towels that may be contaminated should be washed on a long, hot cycle.
- Eat whole foods. Ensure your immune system is as strong as possible by following a natural, unprocessed diet.
- Colloidal silver (nature’s antibiotic) can be taken orally as a preventative at this time of year to help your immune system stay strong and fight off attack. Colloidal silver can also be diluted in a spray bottle to wipe down surfaces. (Please note that although silver is proven to kill off many pathogens, there is no proven scientific evidence this will eliminate the Norovirus.)
If you become infected, here's what to do:
- Avoid foods for 24 hours. When you do start eating, avoid anything high in fiber, which could irritate the bowel and aggravate any diarrhea experienced.
- Drink plenty of water. Stay as hydrated as possible to aid the body’s healing process.
- You can make your own natural rehydration drink by adding salt to the water used to boil rice in. Cook as normal, adding a pinch of salt. Some of the starch from the rice will dissolve into the water and provide the sugar.
- Dissolve one spoon of Manuka honey in hot water, add half a lemon and a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Although apple cider vinegar is well known for its antimicrobial properties, it has been shown to aid with viral infections too. Sip slowly.
- Ginger can settle stomachs, combating nausea. Ginger can be supplemented or taken as a tea.
- Sleep is nature’s recovery period. Nap whenever you can.
- While recovering, avoid dairy and gluten. They are typically hard on the stomach.
- Relax as much as possible. Worrying or feeling guilty about what you could or should be doing is adding stress to your already overwhelmed system.
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