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Hi! I'm doctor Ricky, and welcome to BodyTalk.
Today, we're gonna be talking about Norovirus.
This is a really common problem this time of year, so I'm gonna be answering some of the questions that you've been asking online.

As the name suggests, it's a virus, often called the winter vomiting bug, and comes out in the winter time.
It's really contagious, so... coughs, colds, sneezes, you can spread it really easy from person to person.
It causes vomiting, can cause diarrhea, can make you quite dehydrated, and symptoms last a couple of days.
It's really important to make sure that even after your symptoms have subsided, you still may be hang back for a day or two; otherwise, you still might spread it onto other people.

It causes vomiting and diarrhea, and if you're losing lots of fluid in your vomit and diarrhea, you're real at risk of gettig dehydrated.
So how do you know if you're getting dehydrated?
Well, sometimes people notice that their mouth gets dry.
You might notice your heart starts beating fast.
And actually, the amount of urine you pass goes down because your body tries to keep as much water in it as possible.
So if you're passing urine say... once or twice a day, it probably isn't enough.
You may be getting dehydrated.
If you are getting dehydrated, it's important to drink plenty fluid.
And we would say not just water, maybe drink something with some salts in it, like juices too.
But it's a general viral illness. You might get a bit of snotty nose, bit of cough, just a general common body ache.
So it's not just the vomiting and diarrhea. It can have some other symptoms too.

Well the main reason is because it's so contagious.
It's really easy to spread from one person to another.
It generally comes about in the winter time, and the reason why we don't develop an immunity against it is the virus is constantly changing.
So, you might get it this year, build up some immunity, but the Norovirus that comes around next year is a little bit different.
So you need a different type of immunity, but unfortuately, you get the virus again.
Another reason why Norovirus causes outbreak is the actual virus itself can live outside of the body for a long period of time.
Normal virus is... only lasts a... you know, a matter of hours outside of the body.
But Norovirus can hang around for a few days, so if it's hanging around, it's easy for you to pick up and easy to spread.

It's a really infectious virus.
It spreads through just touching people who have been infected with the virus, so something as simple as handshaking or maybe sharing the same door handle.
I'ts really important to maintain good hand hygiene when you got Norovirus to try and minimize the spread of they going to someone else.

There aren't any specific groups that are more likely to get Norovirus.
If you're exposed to it, you might get it.
However, certain groups of people are more at risk in terms of how the Norovirus might affect them in terms of its severity.
So if you're very young, you're very old, or if your immune system isn't working so well, if you do get Norovirus, it can hit you pretty hard.

The best advice for somebody who's got Norovirus, is to let infection just run its course.
You just need to support your body through the time you're unwell with paracetamol and plenty of fluid.
If you've got a child who's got Norovirus, it's really important just to maintain the normal diet.

The key is hand washing and hygiene.
It's easy to spread from person to person, so you need to be careful if you're sharing towels with people.
Uh, often you go to the toilet, you need to make sure you wash your hands properly with an anti-bacterial soap.
And actually, if you have Norovirus, it's really important to kind of isolate yourself slightly.
You know, if you have these symptoms, maybe keep yourself isolated for a couple days, so you don't pass it onto someone else.
Other things you can do to stop the spread of Norovirus would be to wash your bedding after you had it on a really hot wash.
And also, maybe not prepare food especially for other people.

Norovirus is a kind of bug that changes on a yearly basis, so the bug that comes out next year would a bit different to the one that comes out this year.
That means, if you pick it up in any one year, you're unlikely to get it again in that year because your body would have immunity,
but the following year, because the bug changes a little bit, you may will pick it up again.
Even they might feel terrible when you got Norovirus with all that vomiting and diarrhea, when the symptoms settle, things get back to normal, there should be no long term effect at all.
So hope you found this information useful of Norovirus.
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Lily Chou published on March 27, 2015    Lily Chou translated    Wendy reviewed
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