Wednesday, January 9, 2013
BC Hit Hard By Viruses
Fraser Health explains norovirus
Released by Métis Nation of Ontario
inter is in full force and with it comes the usual suspects - influenza and noroviruses.
This year, we are seeing higher than normal numbers of cases of both viruses in communities all over the province.
If you are experiencing
symptoms of norovirus or the flu and have concerns or questions on
what to do, there are a number of resources you can access. Visit
your GP or call 8-1-1- (HealthLink BC) to speak to a nurse 24 hours
a day, seven days a week. There are also a number of walk-in clinics
across the Fraser Health region to help you.
What are Noroviruses?
Noroviruses are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. They are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. People exposed to the virus usually develop symptoms of illness within 24 to 48 hours, but symptoms can occur as early as 12 hours after exposure. People infected with norovirus can be contagious from before they start feeling ill to at least three days after they have recovered. Some people may be contagious for as long as two weeks after recovery.
This year a new strain of the virus is circulating, the Sydney strain, named after the city in which it was first detected. As the most of the population does not have immunity to this strain, we are seeing a higher number of cases in our communities and across all of our acute and residential care sites.
How do you get it?
People can become infected with the virus in several ways, including: through direct contact with another person who is infected (e.g. caring for or diapering an ill child, sharing food or eating utensils with an ill person), by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus (like door handles) or by eating food or drinking water that has been contaminated.
Noroviruses are easily spread in environments where people are in close contact, and outbreaks often occur in group settings such as schools, hospitals, child care facilities, nursing homes, cruise ships and passenger trains.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of norovirus illness include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. Sometimes, people may have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The illness often begins suddenly, about 24 to 48 hours after exposure and the infected person may become very sick with frequent vomiting and/or diarrhea. In general, children experience more vomiting than adults.
How long do the symptoms last?
In most healthy people, the diarrhea and vomiting usually last eight to twelve hours, and people normally recover in 48 hours. Symptoms may last longer in some people.
Most people feel better within one or two days, with symptoms resolving on their own and no long-term health effects occurring after illness.
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