Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the norovirus is characterized as being a 'very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.' Anyone who comes into contact with it is at risk of falling ill. What's more, studies have found that an incredible 19 to 21 million Americans get sick with norovirus each year. To make it worse, the CDC estimates that an average person will get norovirus roughly five times in their lifetime.
But, how can you be sure whether you have contracted the virus? While only a doctor can officially diagnose your symptoms, if you are experiencing diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain and fever, headaches or body aches, especially 12 to 48 hours after being exposed, you could very well have the norovirus.
While the norovirus clears up on its own within 1 to 3 days in healthy individuals, its symptoms can cause, in some cases, severe dehydration. In these cases, it's more important for the sufferer to receive medical attention. Often, the doctor will prescribe rehydration therapy for the patient.
But, how can you protect yourself from norovirus? Because it's known to spread extremely quickly, especially between individuals who live in the same home or attend work or school together, the CDC recommends that you wash your hands before and after eating, preparing food or using the bathroom. The agency also urges Americans to thoroughly wash their fruits, veggies, and shellfish before cooking and consumption.