Recently, norovirus has entered a period of high incidence. Many parents reported that many children in the class suffered from vomiting and diarrhea. After examination, it was found that norovirus was at work. So, what exactly is norovirus? How to prevent this virus? How to correctly identify and respond to infection? On January 16, the reporter interviewed Xu Erdi, deputy chief physician of the Department of Pediatric Internal Medicine at the Second Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University.
What is norovirus
Norovirus is the most common cause of diarrhea and vomiting in children in winter. The virus has a high incidence in the cold season. It has the characteristics of strong environmental resistance, cold resistance and strong contagion. Children under 5 years old are susceptible.
Norovirus mutates quickly, and new mutant strains are produced every few years, which can easily cause clusters of disease, especially in schools, daycare institutions and other gathering places.
There are many ways of transmission of norovirus, fecal-oral transmission is the main transmission route, and it can also be transmitted through respiratory tract and other methods. For example, you may be infected if you come into contact with the vomit, tableware or objects of an infected person, ingest food or water contaminated with norovirus, or come into contact with aerosols produced by vomiting.
People infected with this virus have a sudden onset of illness, the incubation period is usually from a few hours to 72 hours, and the course of the disease is usually 2-7 days. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc. Children often start with vomiting. Diarrhea is mostly watery stool or egg drop soup-like, without obvious fishy smell.
It is worth noting that if the condition is serious, such as poor mental complexion, poor eating, low urine output, etc., timely medical treatment is required.
There is no specific medicine and it is easy to be infected again
The stool routine after norovirus infection usually shows no obvious white blood cells and red blood cells. If norovirus nucleic acid or antigen is detected in the stool, the diagnosis can be confirmed.
Norovirus infection is a self-limiting disease, and there are currently no specific antiviral drugs. Most children can relieve symptoms through rest and oral rehydration salts, probiotics, montmorillonite powder and other methods. However, young infants and those with severe symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea are very prone to dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, and need to go to the hospital in time.
In addition, norovirus is a virus that can be re-infected. Because the virus mutates quickly and the immune protection produced by the human body after being infected with norovirus is short-lived, even if you have been infected with norovirus before, you may still be re-infected with the same strain or a different strain of norovirus. . Therefore, people who have already been infected with the virus still need to remain vigilant to prevent reinfection.
Prevention is the key to controlling the spread
Dr. Xu pointed out that prevention is the key to controlling the spread of norovirus, and she gave four specific suggestions in this regard.
Maintain hand hygiene. Wash your hands frequently, especially before meals and after using the toilet, and follow the seven-step handwashing method. Disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer are ineffective against norovirus and cannot replace hand washing. In addition, if you come into contact with an environment that may be contaminated by the virus, avoid touching your mouth, nose, eyes and other parts with your hands.
Pay attention to food and drinking water hygiene. Do not drink raw water and use separate chopping boards for raw and cooked food. Vegetables and fruits must be washed before eating, and meat must be fully cooked before eating.
Home isolation. You must isolate yourself at home for 72 hours from the onset of symptoms to the complete disappearance of symptoms. During the isolation period, infected people should avoid close contact with family members, especially the elderly and children with low immunity.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Clean the environment and disinfect toys and items, open windows appropriately for ventilation, and maintain indoor air circulation. It should be noted that alcohol and hand sanitizer have no inactivating effect on norovirus. A higher concentration of chlorine-containing disinfectant (84 disinfectant) must be used to effectively inactivate norovirus.