Stomach aches, pains, or nausea? When experiencing such symptoms of discomfort you may ask yourself… could it of been something I ate? Did I catch something from someone at work or at school? Am I contagious? The questions and thoughts racing through your head are endless.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, you could be experiencing symptoms of a norovirus and/or food poisoning.
What is a Norovirus?
You may hear someone say “I had a 24 hour bug”. They are referring to a norovirus, otherwise known as gastroenteritis or the stomach flu. This causes inflammation in the stomach or intestines. This illness is caused by a virus, and can lead to diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting and nausea.
It’s important to note that the stomach flu is different than the seasonal flu, which is caused by the influenza virus*.
What Causes a Norovirus?
The norovirus is HIGHLY contagious, and can be transmitted from coming into contact with someone who has the virus, eating foods that contain the virus, or touching an object that has the virus, and ingesting those germs into your mouth.
So if that is a Norovirus, What is Food Poisoning?
Food poisoning, also known as a food borne illness is caused by eating contaminated food infected with infectious organisms such as parasites, viruses, bacteria or toxins. Common food poisoning symptoms can include any or a combination of symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramps, and fever.
What Foods Commonly Cause Food Poisoning?
Many different foods can cause food poisoning. A few include raw or undercooked meats, eggs, leafy greens, raw sprouts, soft cheeses such as feta and brie, and unpasteurized milk.
What is the KEY Difference Between a Norovirus and Food Poisoning?
It’s important to note that a norovirus can cause foodborne illnesses, but NOT all foodborne illnesses are caused by viruses. They can also be caused by bacteria, parasites, and toxins.
When to Seek Medical Treatment?
It could take anywhere from hours to a couple of days before food poisoning and norovirus symptoms occur. If you begin to experience a high fever, bloody stools, diarrhea lasting more than 3 days, struggling to hold down liquids, or signs of dehydration, one should seek a medical professional.
How Can HRUC Help?
If you are suffering from what you believe to be a norovirus or food poisoning, and having the symptoms listed above, keep HRUC in mind. HRUC can provide medical care for dehydration, and other general health concerns. Walk ins are always welcome, with hours of operation extended beyond traditional business hours Monday- Friday 8am-7pm, and on Saturdays 10am-4pm.