Winter is most definitely here! For many this is a cold but festive time of year, but for some it means THE WINTER VOMITING BUG is here!
What is the Winter Vomiting Bug
It is a strain if norovirus which is very infectious (requires as little as 10 virus particles to cause infection). It infects the gastrointestinal tract, and induces violent vomiting. Despite it’s extreme symptoms, fatality as a result of this virus is incredibly rare. The ‘at risk groups’ are the elderly and sick, and even then, risk of fatality is much less.
Why in Winter? How Does it Spread?
Norovirus spreads either directly for person to person, or from contaminated food or water. Particles containing the virus can be aerosolized by a sneeze, the flush of the toilet or even ‘passing wind’, which then can land on any number of surfaces.
It spreads so rapidly in winter because people spend more time indoors and together, meaning there is a much greater risk of contamination. Humans can also not develop any immunity from the disease, so can spread through the same people year after year.
Sadly, there is no 100% guaranteed way to avoid catching the bug, but there are thing which can dramatically reduce the risk:
- Wash you hands! Hospitals stress this all the time, and people time after time ignore it. Washing you hands with soap could save you days of feeling horrible.
- Make sure anything you consume has been cook thoroughly and hasn’t had the chance to be near infected people.
- Avoid high risk food groups such as oysters and clams.
Image courtesy of elainewhitney