Also known as the stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis, the norovirus is spreading worldwide and causing sickness in millions of people. The woes of getting a viral stomach flu in winter are nothing new, but this is a new strain of the norovirus that is circulating around the globe. The new strain is called GII.4 Sydney, or Sydney 2012. Like this year’s seasonal influenza virus, the norovirus is causing more illnesses than normal in 2013.
Norovirus GII.4 Sydney 2012 Spreads Worldwide
Noroviruses can mutate quickly and cause new strains and at the beginning of the season there maybe many different strains, but closer to the end of the season, only a few strains remain dominate. This year’s Sydney 2012 norovirus has spread from Australia to France, New Zealand, Japan, and other countries. In England and Wales, health officials are seeing 63 percent more cases than this time last year, according to MSN. The norovirus season in the United States is from November to April.
Stomach Flu: How Did I Get Sick?
The norovirus is very contagious and you can get it from just about anywhere. You can get this nasty stomach virus from eating food or using utensils that have been contaminated with the virus, from touching contaminated surfaces, and from just being around someone who is sick with the norovirus. One of the downsides to the norovirus is – if you get it once, then you could get it again since there are a variety of strains. So how do you keep from getting sick with this year’s nasty stomach bug?
Viral Gastroenteritis: Prevention is the Best Cure
There isn’t a vaccine for the so-called ‘stomach flu,’ so other than natural treatments for nausea and stomach cramps, your only option is clean and wash everything. Wash your hands with soap and water – you can use hand sanitizers in a pinch, but soap and water is better. Always wash hands after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and wash before preparing or eating food. You are shedding virus before you even begin to feel that first wave of nausea, and for up to two weeks after you start feeling human again. So wash up!