December 3rd, 2012

Another virus to watch for this winter

Colds and flus are not the only viruses that take cruises in our part of the world every winter.

Another common vacationer in North America in winter is the norovirus – that virus made famous each time a cruise ship comes limping into port with the majority of the passengers telling everyone how they hated the trip because everyone on board got hit with bouts of vomiting.

Most people who get a bout of norovirus get a day or two of vomiting and feeling dreadful, and then it passes, but for people with altered immune systems (including the frail elderly, some with certain chronic health problems, and the very young) norovirus can be a very significant health problem.

Well, according to a report from the UK, norovirus levels there are significantly higher at this point of the year than they have been in 5 years, meaning that it’s just a matter of time before we get hit with an outbreak of norovirus, too.

The only way to defend yourself against norovirus is to either lock yourself away for a few months, which is not a feasible solution for most of us, or wash, wash, wash, your hands, which is good advice even if you’re not concerned about norovirus, and especially if you regularly see or attend to someone who might get very ill from a norovirus infection, such as a young infant.

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