Norovirus infection is also named as winter sickness bug, as most of its cases are reported in the winter season. It is a contagious disease of the stomach, also known as stomach flu. It is a viral infection that shares its symptoms with other non-viral infections such as bacterial gastroenteritis, flu. However, its symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea. In a few cases, it shows the signs of the flu, such as fever, stomach cramps, headache, and muscle pain.
How Does Norovirus Infection Affect The Body & What Triggers It?
Norovirus affects all people of any age group. It is transmitted when a person comes in contact with contaminated food, liquid, surfaces, or directly with the infected person. It can be ingested through nose, mouth, and rubbing eyes after contact with contaminated surfaces. It is also transmitted through the fecal-oral route.(1)
Norovirus affects on the human body are distressing and exhausting, but it does not threaten life in people with a healthy immune system. Even the infection is contagious when a person has no symptoms of the disease but carries the infectious virus.(1)
Effects Of Norovirus On The Body After Exposure
After exposure, the contagious virus norovirus travels into the small intestine through the stomach. In the gut, it undergoes multiplication by creating attachments with the healthy cells of the abdomen and produce more infected cells. Viruses are unable to replicate without the help of living cells. After some time, these cells explode and release virus cells. This process continues.(1)
After the release of many virus replica cells, the immune system will sense the feeling of unwell and would release antibodies to fight against them. It would result in a sudden projection of vomiting and diarrhea. It is the natural response of the body to eject out the virus from the body as the immune system work continuously to flush out them from the body.(1)
This reaction of the body usually resides for one or two days. As your immune system continues to fight against the infection, a lot of energy of the body is utilized, the affected person still feels unwell and weak. With time, the immune system becomes successful in taking over the infected cells and destroy them, the patient feels better, but still, he is contagious for one to two days. Once a strain of norovirus infects a person, he is not likely to catch the same infection again.(1)
The norovirus infection is not a life-threatening disease, but it may leave a characteristic impact on the body i.e., dehydration. There is too much loss of fluids from the body. It becomes essential to replicate water content in the body to prevent the fatal consequences of dehydration. Dehydration may worsen the condition of the body by executing symptoms such as tiredness, dizziness, dry mouth, little or no urine (usually dark colored urine). The patient may take a few days to recover completely from the infection and dehydration with no long-lasting side effects on the body.(1)
The risk factors that can trigger norovirus infection are-
- Low immunity
- Contact with contaminated food or water
- Consuming in a place where food is handled or cooked with unhygienic conditions
- Contact with contaminated surfaces
- Exposure to the virus in closed and crowded environments
- Staying in hotels, resorts, cruise ships, etc. with many people in a closed area.
- Touching the mouth or nose of the infected person
- Contact with the contaminated liquid or feces from the infected person
- Contact with air droplets containing the virus.(2)
Norovirus infection enters the body via nose, mouth, or sometimes eyes through contaminated food, water, or surfaces. It induces the reproduction and growth of the virus in the intestine, which is tackled by the immune system by throwing them via vomiting and diarrhea out of the body. The things that trigger this infection are exposure to closed and crowded areas with others mentioned above.
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- What Happens To Untreated Norovirus Infection & When To Go To Doctor?