Norovirus: How to protect yourself at the Olympics or at home

Norovirus: How to protect yourself at the Olympics or at home

Organisers of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics said Thursday 86 cases of norovirus infections have been confirmed, with no athlete having been affected following the outbreak in the Olympic host city earlier in the week.

"The biggest risk is dehydration, which is more important for athletes than anyone else, especially if they are expected to perform within the next one to two weeks", Hochman said.

The stomach flu thrives in closed environments like on cruise ships, in nursing homes, and around daycares. It is the most common cause of illnesses from contaminated food in the United States - an estimated 20 million Americans get sick with the virus each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and it is blamed for as many as 800 deaths in the United States each year.

Officials at the Winter Olympics anxious about dismal ticket sales and bitterly cold temperatures may have another problem on their hands: a stomach-churning norovirus outbreak.

Most people get it either by direct contact with someone who has it, or by touching a surface that has been contaminated with the virus.

Frequent handwashing is the best protection against contracting norovirus. A year ago in London at the world athletics championships, the virus quickly spread through one hotel, and several athletes had to withdraw from the first days of the tournament, The Guardian reported. Most of the outbreaks of foodborne illness from the virus get started in restaurants, the CDC said.

Norovirus symptoms generally begin within a day or two of exposure. "Some people also have fevers and muscle aches, but the real hallmark of this infection is the pretty abrupt onset of these symptoms", Hochman said. The effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain and cramps.

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The CDC recommends practicing proper hand hygiene, washing fruits and vegetables and cooking food thoroughly before eating, not preparing food for others when you feel sick, and cleaning and disinfecting contaminated surfaces.

"After the diagnosis, you're removed from your accommodation facility if you have the virus".

It is found in the vomit and feces of infected people. Eat only foods that have been properly handled and prepared, and avoid raw shellfish and undercooked seafood.

People can also easily spread the illness if they don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom.

Sports drinks and rehydration drinks can help replace fluids lost by diarrhea and vomiting.

There is no specific medicine or vaccine to treat norovirus, but most people recover fully without treatment.

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