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Norovirus Infection: Cause, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

The Kashmir Monitor

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In the US, it is said that the most common cause of gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines, also sometimes referred to as stomach or intestinal flu) is the norovirus. Getting a norovirus infection can leave you vomiting and having diarrhea. You can get it by consuming food and water that is contaminated by the virus.

Fortunately, a norovirus infection resolves on its own even without medical intervention. However, since diarrhea is one of the symptoms of the disease, it’s important for an infected person to drink lots of fluids. Such is done in order to stave off dehydration which, in itself, can cause several different complications.

The norovirus can easily spread from one person to the other. It’s exactly for this reason why frequently washing the hands has to be done if you are engaged in food handling, or you are taking care of or living with someone who is having a bout of norovirus infection in order to protect yourself as well as other uninfected individuals.

 

Cause

A norovirus infection is caused by the norovirus, something that can easily be transmitted. Your body only needs to be invaded by a very small number of norovirus to have an infection started. This means that the ingestion of even a very small amount of contaminated food or water is enough for a norovirus infection to develop.

Experts say that it is possible for an infected person to contaminate food, water and others by means of their feces and vomit, which contain noroviruses. Contributing to the easy spreading of the infection is the fact that the norovirus can live on surfaces for several days or even weeks.

Symptoms

The norovirus has a short incubation period that ranges from 12 to 48 hours only. This means that an individual who is infected may experience symptoms within the same day of being exposed to the pathogen. Generally, the symptoms last just as long as the lifespan of the infection itself, which is about 2 to 3 days. However, those with weak immune systems like children and the elderly may have prolonged infections.

Vomiting (more common in children) and diarrhea (more common in adults) are the classic symptoms of a norovirus infection. It is possible for you to have both or only one of them. Unlike some other GI problems that can cause diarrhea, a norovirus infection does not cause blood or pus to appear in the stool.

Other common symptoms are headaches, muscle pain, tiredness and abdominal cramping. Some people with the infection may develop fever, too. Someone who has the disease may also have increased thirst.

Treatment

A norovirus infection usually requires no treatment as it tends to go away on its own in 2 to 3 days. Experts say that it is not a good idea to take anti-diarrheal drugs as it will only prolong the infection — the noroviruses may remain much longer in the system if diarrhea is stopped.

It’s important to note that you should consume plenty of fluids if you have the disease in order to ward off dehydration, which is a complication of diarrhea. It is a good idea to consume something with electrolytes or sugars to maintain the body’s normal fluid balance more effectively.

The infection is not really fatal, although it can complicate things in those who already have certain medical conditions. A small percentage of children and the elderly may require hospitalization as their immune systems are weak.

Prevention

Hand washing — this is the single most important and effective preventive measure that you may do if someone in your home is infected. Definitely, dishes and other utensils should not be shared in order to prevent spreading of the infection, which can happen quite easily if proper hygiene and sanitation is not observed.


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Health

Fruit and Vegetable Juices That Enhance the Immune System

The Kashmir Monitor

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Everyone knows that fresh fruits and vegetables are loaded with nutrients that offer a wide range of benefits for the mind and body. Certain fresh produce help enhance your immune system, making it possible for you to easily avoid various infections and diseases. Juicing the following allows you to boost your immunity in a truly refreshing and delectable way:

Carrots

The sweetness of carrot juice makes it loved by kids and adults alike. Carrots get their characteristic bright orange color from its rich supply of beta carotene, a nutrient converted into vitamin A for sharper vision and better eye health. More importantly, vitamin A is an essential nutrient for a stronger immunity.

 

Lemon

Vitamin C in lemons makes these citrus fruits excellent boosters of your immune system. Vitamin C is a well-known powerful antioxidant that protects the body from colds, cough, flu and others. Lemon juice may be acidic, but it has an alkalizing property once ingested, helping to restore optimal pH balance in the body.

Apples

Other than vitamins and minerals, apples also contain plenty of insoluble fiber. This type of carbohydrates that cannot be digested by the body works as a broom that sweeps out toxins along the intestinal tract. With all of those accumulated poisonous substances out of your body, your immunity is in top-form.

Kiwi

When it comes to fruits, some of the best sources of vitamin C are kiwis. Other than this super antioxidant, kiwis also contain vitamins A and E, both of which are necessary for a stronger immune system. Insoluble fiber and potassium in these fruits are also highly favorable for your cardiovascular system.

Cranberries

Cranberry juice is admired for its ability to bolster the urinary tract system. However, it also contains plenty of vitamin C that helps safeguard you from illnesses brought about by invading microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses.

Broccoli

A vegetable that makes for an excellent immune-boosting juice is broccoli, thanks to its rich supply of beta carotene and vitamin C. Every glass of broccoli juice also provides your body with sulphur, a mineral with powerful antimicrobial properties. Sulphur promotes healing as well because it detoxifies the body at a cellular level.

Beets

What makes beet juice capable of supporting the immune system is its long list of vitamins and minerals. Some of them include vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, potassium and manganese. When juicing, it’s a good idea to mix beets with other fruits and vegetables of your choice due to its strong, earthy flavor.

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Health

Reduce asthma symptoms with Omega-3

The Kashmir Monitor

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A new study has found that consuming a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids is linked to fewer childhood asthma symptoms which are triggered by indoor air pollution.

The study published in ‘American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine’, lays out that families and health care providers may be able to protect children from harmful effects of indoor air pollution by serving a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids while reducing foods rich in omega-6 fatty acids such as soyabean oil and corn oil.

“Our group is working on ways to reduce the levels of indoor air pollution in Baltimore City homes,” said lead author of the study, Emily Brigham. “Results are promising, but we don’t want to stop there,” Brigham added.
The study found that for each additional gram of omega-6 intake, children had 29 per cent higher odds of being in a more severe asthma category.

 

Conversely, with each 0.1-gram increase in levels of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet, researchers saw 3 to 4 per cent lower odds of daytime asthma symptoms.

Indoor air pollution, from sources including cooking, cleaning activities and cigarette smoke, is a known trigger for asthma symptoms.

Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found abundantly in fish and certain nuts and seeds, are considered healthy as they are known to reduce inflammation.

Omega-6 fatty acids, primarily found in vegetable oils (including corn, soybean, safflower, and sunflower), as came out in other studies, have mixed effects on health, but have the potential to promote inflammation.

The researchers, however, noted that it doesn’t prove the relationship between fatty acids and asthma severity.

“Among populations known to be disproportionately affected by asthma, we may find that improving diet and air pollution together has the greatest impact on health,” said Brigham.

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Health

New cell that can heal hearts discovered

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Researchers have discovered a previously unidentified cell population which could lead to new treatments for patients with injured hearts.

The cell, described in the journal Immunity, was discovered in the pericardial fluid found in the sac around the heart of a mouse with heart injury. The researchers from the University of Calgary in Canada found that a specific cell, a Gata6+ pericardial cavity macrophage, helps heal an injured heart in mice.

The same cells were also found within the human pericardium of people with injured hearts, confirming that the repair cells offer the promise of a new therapy for patients with heart disease. “Our discovery of a new cell that can help heal injured heart muscle will open the door to new therapies and hope for the millions of people who suffer from heart disease,” said Paul Fedak, a professor at the University of Calgary.

 

“The possibilities for further discovery and innovative new therapies are exciting and important,” said Fedak. Heart doctors had never before explored the possibility that cells just outside the heart could participate in healing and repair of hearts after injury, researchers said.

Unlike other organs, the heart has a very limited capacity to repair itself which is why heart disease is the number one cause of death in North America, they said. “We always knew that the heart sits inside a sac filled with a strange fluid,” said Fedak. “Now we know that this pericardial fluid is rich with healing cells. These cells may hold the secret to repair and regeneration of new heart muscle,” he said.

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