Women, even if not exceptionally health conscious will certainly take care of their health once they are pregnant. They tend to make sure what they drink or eat will neither affect their health nor their babies’.
If you think that as you are very cautious about your health and follow healthy habits you are not vulnerable to infections when you are pregnant, we are sorry to say that you are wrong. In fact, you are more susceptible to infection when you are pregnant. This is because, during pregnancy, your defence mechanism undergoes certain changes to protect the new life within you. Your immunity decreases and your chances of catching infection increases. An infection that counts to be very mild when you are not pregnant can turn out to be severe when you are pregnant. You have to make sure it will not do any harm to your baby.
This article will help you to analyse causes, symptoms, treatment and much more about infections caused by norovirus becoming very common quite recently.
What Is Norovirus?
A group of virus causing gastroenteritis (infection of gut or intestine) is called norovirus. There is no age barrier for the norovirus infections to appear. Both children and adults are equally prone to this infection. The infection is often called stomach flu or stomach bug.
What Are The Signs Of Norovirus Infections?
If you develop the following symptoms within a day or maximum within two days (symptoms show up within 48 hours after you get infected) you can suspect norovirus infection. The first three symptoms mentioned below are distinctive signs of norovirus infection.
- Watery diarrhea
- Throwing up (Vomiting)
- All of a sudden feeling sick
- Aching limbs
- Stomach pain or abdominal cramping
- Body aches
- Muscle pain
- Slight fever
- Head ache
- Loss of taste
Is It Dangerous To Catch Norovirus Infection During Pregnancy?
Although it is an irksome sickness to catch during pregnancy, under normal conditions norovirus infection are not dangerous for both mother and child. But you have to make sure to eliminate dehydration by proper intake of the fluids. Complications that may arise due to norovirus infection are directly proportional to the intensity of the dehydration. Severe dehydration is found to increase the chances of preterm labor. Acute vomiting and loose motions bring about electrolyte imbalance and dehydration that may lead to urinary tract infection.
How Does Norovirus Spread?
Norovirus spreads through close contact with an infected person. Norovirus present in the intestine of the infected person gets out through the vomit and excrements. If the infected person’s hand is not properly washed the chances of the virus getting transmitted to the surfaces he or she touches increases. Sharing food or drinks with an infected person also initiates the spreading of the virus.
As the virus can survive outside the body for several days, it increases the chances of spreading. A norovirus infected person is considered contagious from the moment the symptoms show up till 48 hours, when the symptoms vanish. In some cases, the contagious period may extend to three to seven days after regaining the health.The chances of an outbreak of this virus in public places like hospitals, parks, air conditioned halls, schools etc. can’t be ruled out because even the breath of the infected person may contain norovirus that you could breathe in.
How Can Be Norovirus Prevented In Pregnancy?
There is no guarantee that you could keep away the virus from entering your body if there is an infected person nearby or if there has been an outbreak of this virus in your area already. Any way you can try your best to prevent this virus from entering into your system by:
- Once you come to know that there is an outbreak of this virus in your neighborhood stay away from public places like the park, hospitals, air conditioned halls etc.
- This virus will get into your body even when you touch something that an infected person touched before. It is safe to wash your hand regularly with soap and water. Using sanitizer won’t help to kill the virus. So rely on frequent hand wash with soap and water
- Don’t eat raw or undercooked food because they can carry the norovirus
- Don’t share food or drinks with others even if they don’t show any symptoms
- During pregnancy, it is better not to share the personal things like towels, flannels, and cloths with others no matter how close they are
Am I Prone To Norovirus Infection If I Have Already Caught It Before?
The fact that you already got norovirus infection and have been cured doesn’t reduce the chances of catching it again. This is because the virus keeps on changing and your body is incapable of building resistance towards it for a long period.
What Should I Do If I Catch Norovirus Infection During Pregnancy?
It is very unfortunate for you to catch this infection during your pregnancy period. Having this infection will add more stress and strain to you. Any way you have no need to worry about your child because no matter how awful and distressed you feel, this infection won’t affect your baby directly. The norovirus infections are self-limiting and are found to pass away on its own within three days. No medication is usually needed. Due to the fact that you are pregnant, the following steps will help you to deal with your situation:
- Prevent dehydration: Drink plenty of water, fresh juice diluted with water, light ginger tea, soups and whatever you prefer to stay hydrated. Sometimes, due to the vomiting sensation you may not feel like drinking. In that case, take tiny sips frequently or try sucking on ice chips
- Take rehydration solutions: Intake of oral rehydration solution and isotonic drinks will help to regain the salt and minerals and replace fluids and electrolyte which lost from your body
- You should avoid taking:
- Anti-diarrhoea medication which is not good to use during pregnancy
- Sugary drinks which make diarrhoea worst
- Food items that are enriched with masalas and oils
- Milk and milk products
- Eat simple food: Don’t hesitate to take food thinking that you may vomit. During pregnancy, it is essential to eat a balanced diet. But try to take simple food devoid of oil and masalas. You can have dry roti and boiled vegetables, cereals without milk etc. which can offer you energy
- Take rest:You will feel weaker than a normal person suffering from norovirus infection because your body, even at this condition, tries to nourish your baby, draining out all your energy. So, it is very important for you to take as much as rest as possible to save your energy
When Should I Consult My Doctor When I Have Norovirus Infection?
In a majority of cases, norovirus infection doesn’t need any medical attention. But if you experience the following symptoms we prefer that you give your doctor a call because you may be suffering from severe dehydration and we don’t want to you to take any chance during pregnancy.
- If you have high fever
- Decrease in urination
(1st and 2nd symptoms indicate the urinary infection due to dehydration.)
- Dry mouth
- Feeling very weak and tired
Obviously, the communication between you and your doctor is very important throughout your pregnancy. Above all, you ought to have progressing care and don’t hesitate to clear any doubts with your doctor during pregnancy.