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Norovirus
January 14, 2009 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Reading this could save you two days of intense suffering.

When it comes to viruses, Norovirus (a.k.a. Norwalk) is one nasty customer. If it weren't for the fact that symptoms disappear after two or three days, the human race would be in deep doo-doo. Literally. According to this detailed presentation, it claims 23,000,000 victims annually - the highest rate of viral infection besides the common cold. You can get it from food, you can get it from contaminated surfaces and through inhalation of viral particles. It takes less than 100 particles to make people sick. NoV is shed in the feces at up to 10 million particles per infected gram. One single incident of projectile vomiting releases 30 million particles. People remain infectious usually for 72 hours after recovery, but may in some cases be infectious for up to 2 weeks. Viral particles can stay active on surfaces for days and even weeks. Surface contamination requires: 1 tbl of bleach/gal of water for stainless steel, food utensils and toys; 1-2/3 cups bleach/gal of water for porous surfaces and wooden floors. Removing viral particles from clothing requires laundering in water that's 60 degree C or higher.

Norovirus outbreaks are more common in winter (see pg 8 of the presentation) but reasons are unclear.

What can you do? Be a germ buster and if you get infected, stay at home.

And now, I'm off to get some bed rest.
posted by storybored (102 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
oops - "surface contamination" -> "surface decontamination"
posted by storybored at 12:03 PM on January 14, 2009


Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.

NO DEAL.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:04 PM on January 14, 2009 [36 favorites]


First they renamed my brontosaurus; now they've come for my stomach flu.

Wait - that actually might be a good thing.
posted by yhbc at 12:05 PM on January 14, 2009


I believe I am a horrible person, because I always took a perverse schadenfreude when those Caribbean cruise ships would turn into modern day plagueships with hundreds and hundreds of people coming down with Norwalk on cruise after cruise. Take that, middlebrow hoi polloi!
posted by Justinian at 12:11 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ugh, I caught Norwalk when I was living in student residence in University. It was awful. I could barely keep a glass of water down. Just brutal.
posted by smitt at 12:13 PM on January 14, 2009


NOW WASH YOUR HANDS.
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


I had this last year and lost about ten pounds. It was downright horrid.
posted by Peach at 12:21 PM on January 14, 2009


If you've ever been to Norwalk, Conn., this virus is appropriately named.
posted by netbros at 12:24 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


I have small children and when they get it, I feel like dead man walking.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 12:26 PM on January 14, 2009


Too late for me; I've had this twice in three years, both times in academic settings. Sadly, the "cruise ship virus" is a bit of a misnomer, as Norovirus has recently become very common at universities.

In December I had to go to the emergency room at the local hospital, where it took three bags of saline to replace the fluid I'd lost in more than 12 hours of continual vomiting. The experience was officially Not Fun.
posted by killdevil at 12:28 PM on January 14, 2009


I've had this three times so far. Death will seem like fun in comparison.
posted by tommasz at 12:28 PM on January 14, 2009


When I have gotten it I also manage to get the killer headache from hell (I assume that comes from the dehydration-probably the only reason I didn't go to the hospital is that I was too darn sick to even move.)

Nasty, nasty stuff.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:31 PM on January 14, 2009


Its the Norovirus weight loss plan! We guarantee that you'll lose at least 5 pounds after only two days!
posted by Sargas at 12:31 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Add a "Not" to the beginning of the linked article and you'd have a pretty good disclaimer for any and all Palin threads.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:35 PM on January 14, 2009


Storybored, having myself been the victim of a Norovirus recently, I'm amazed that you had the time, energy, and patience for such a coherent post.

Feel better soon!
posted by Graygorey at 12:36 PM on January 14, 2009


No way am I going to any meetup at Krrrlson's house. No fucking way.
posted by waraw at 12:37 PM on January 14, 2009


In December I had to go to the emergency room at the local hospital, where it took three bags of saline to replace the fluid I'd lost in more than 12 hours of continual vomiting. The experience was officially Not Fun.

Had a similar experience a while back (they chalked it up to H. Pylori, tho'). Easily the most miserable vomiting experience I've ever had.

On the other hand, I got intravenous Demerol and now understand why people like narcotics.
posted by weston at 12:39 PM on January 14, 2009


honestly I would rather never lose an once of weight in my life than go through that illness again. I too had a dehydration headache, lasting for 4 days despite any painkillers. I could not keep sips of water down for more than the first 6 hours. it's horrible.
posted by supermedusa at 12:42 PM on January 14, 2009


I'm determined not to catch this stuff again.

That's why I wash my hands 12 times a day, never go to restaurants or public venues, and disinfect everything I eat thoroughly. The other day my wife tried to touch me, and I had to lecture her on the perils of communicable diseases. She burst out crying and refuses to talk to me now, but that's a small price to pay to stay sickness free, right?
posted by happyroach at 12:48 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I love reading about vomiting and diarrhea right after lunch.
posted by desjardins at 12:49 PM on January 14, 2009


Vacation 2 years ago. I saw 4 hours of Disneyworld and 36 hours of a hotel room toilet.
posted by Big_B at 12:50 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


this is so cool...

i LOVE puking. seriously. it makes me feel clean, clean, clean.
and it's far more exciting and provides faster feedback than any of those body cleansing programs my old yoga instructors ever suggested; drinking my pee and salt water for a week. sexy, but nowhere near as exciting.

the last time i played in poland, 2004, i contracted the stomach flu. i'd rush off stage and go completely projectile in the backstage bathroom. i was blissed. i hated poland and every day when i'd start throwing up (for a fu**ing week) i'd give thanks that i wasn't keeping poland down.

this went on right until we crossed the line back into germany when my symptoms instantly and mysteriously vanished. and a good thing, too, as i was using vodka and whiskey as a curative. coulda died that way.

god i hated poland.
posted by artof.mulata at 12:50 PM on January 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


I haven't vomited in maybe ten or fifteen years, and I just don't think I'm missing anything.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:52 PM on January 14, 2009


I'm getting all crampy just reading this. ick.
posted by JeffK at 12:52 PM on January 14, 2009


I had this a couple of years ago, and it cost me $90. Because I don't drive and that's how much it cost me to take a cab home from work. (Me to manager: "I just yarked up last night's dinner, it felt like." Manager: "You're excused. I mean really excused. Good luck.")

24 hours later and I was weak but fine... and then I heard my father throwing up the way I did.

On December 23, when my mother was going to be doing Christmas Eve dinner for 20. She cancelled those plans immediately, based on 'what if I get sick'. (She didn't.)

But that first vomit attack... the next time I had that much pain was the night I ended up going to the ER and they took out my gall bladder because of the gallstones.
posted by mephron at 12:53 PM on January 14, 2009


Thanks Graygorey, I'm at the tail end of it, so I'm coming back fast. And god, nothing as bad as what killdevil went through. The crazy thing about it was that I was taking my elderly mum to the hospital for a dermatology appointment yesterday and although I had an upset stomach, didn't think too much of it. So I'm sitting there and then start to feel NOT SO GOOD. Then I lost consciousness. Holy crap.

My mum and dad also have come down with it. And like hellboundforcheddar said, vulnerable age groups are of particular concern. The good news is that NoV is way down on the mortality list for gastero illnesses. From the linked presentation, salmonella is the top killer (500 odd deaths), while NoV accounted for 120 deaths. (Although interestingly it caused more deaths than e coli).

The amazing contagiousness of the disease is demonstrated by an incident in a U.K. restaurant where "sudden vomiting" by a single victim infected 50 people at neighboring tables.
posted by storybored at 12:55 PM on January 14, 2009


From now on I am going to sleep in a facemask & latex gloves.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 12:59 PM on January 14, 2009


Reading this could save you two days of intense suffering.

So how does the link prevent me from catching norovirus? (assuming I already wash my hands and fruit and vegetables, and flush my poop?)

Admittedly, I didn't read the PDF...
posted by mrgrimm at 1:01 PM on January 14, 2009


Yeah, I've gone to the hospital from this, because I was so dehydrated. It was horrible. I think I may prefer getting a kidney stone. It hurts more, but you spasm less, and can leave the bathroom, and the pain is treatable.
posted by gryftir at 1:01 PM on January 14, 2009


Reading this could come about five days too late for some of us.
posted by lekvar at 1:03 PM on January 14, 2009


Also, wouldn't bleaching wood kill the good bacteria (that kills the bad bacteria) ...?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:03 PM on January 14, 2009


A few years ago someone threw up on the steps outside a concert and managed to infect 500 people at once. When will we finally defeat these bio-terrorists?
posted by so_necessary at 1:08 PM on January 14, 2009


@storeybored

I wasn't trying to point out the vulnerability of my kids. They hardly know what hit 'em. I was pointing out my vulnerability to the onslaught of their noro-germs and the grim awareness of my terrible, fast approaching fate.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 1:10 PM on January 14, 2009


How do you tell the difference between a norovirus infection and any other gastrointestinal virus? I mean, a lot of folks are saying, 'I had this,' but to me it sounds like the symptoms are pretty much the same as any other generic stomach bug: a day or two of total abject misery followed by another week or so of soup, crackers, and toast while you wait for the guts to properly reset themselves.

Salmonella, on the other hand...all I can say is that when they tell you to wash your hands carefully after handling reptiles, they aren't kidding.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:14 PM on January 14, 2009 [5 favorites]


Gah, my grandmother had a bout of this and nearly died - she had to be taken to the hospital and get infusions. And then my mother contracted it, probably from her... fun times.

But what kind of people does the CDC expect to read their webpages?
"Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. This is because antibiotics work to fight bacteria and not viruses."
"Norovirus infection can also not be treated by beating the virus with blunt objects, like a stick or a table leg. This is because sticks or table legs work best against small mammals and reptiles and not viruses."
posted by PontifexPrimus at 1:16 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


I had something like this during a summer session in college (The only time I lived in a dorm). I started throwing up at 7:30, by 10:30 I was destroying the shower because it wouldn't stop (both ends folks! both ends! I never used that shower again.) Anyways, there was a point when it partial subsided and I just kept hitting the fluids, and then spitting up the bile colored water - on a positive note I was able to at least lay down in my bed for a while. Unfortunately it was hell on my roommate at the time.

He was another rower and engineer, and I would describe him as a realist, a philosopher and an optimist - an odd combination for an engineer. By 2:00AM he's been kept up for about 4 hours too long considering we have a DiffEq test tomorrow at 8:00AM. I'm staring at the cieling clutching a plastic container that's half filled with bile and water... then I hear him say, "At least look at the bright side, while we may be screwed for the test tomorrow, at least you are getting one hell of an ab workout."
posted by Nanukthedog at 1:17 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Norovirus: bane of cruise ships. Last summer I took a cruise (and with apologies to David Foster Wallace, it was fun, but mostly because we spent all of our time out on the deck or in a hot tub watching the glaciers) and I was surprised to see hand sanitizers everywhere. Until I remembered those news stories about entire cruise ships being infected.

Despite providing sanitation in the cafes, however, they did miss one trick. The first day, everyone is required to participate in a lifeboat drill, and within hours of boarding the ship, everyone is packed into a large space, all touching the same handrails on the way in. Oops.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:17 PM on January 14, 2009


That PDF is awesome. Check out page 15 for the chocolate arm o' icing picture:
Ill foodworker prepared 76 L of buttercream
frosting for use on ~10,000 products
• Frosting maker during 6-hour shift:
– 5 episodes of diarrhea
– 2 episodes of vomiting
• Frosting maker’s children had GI illness
onset 1, 2, and 3 days prior to his onset of
illness
Bare arm up to
elbow in frosting

• Estimated 3,000
illnesses


Be a virus, see the world.
posted by benzenedream at 1:18 PM on January 14, 2009


Hah, everyone laughed when I became a hermit. How's laughing now you walking germ factories, huh, where's your society and social interaction now?!

ISOLATED MOUNTAINTOP 4 LIFE!!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:20 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think this may be what the woman and I suffered through this past weekend. Contagious up to 3 days after cessation of symptoms? Bad news for the people we work with, I guess...
posted by jtron at 1:22 PM on January 14, 2009


Terrible, terrible stuff... Hit me hard and fast over the holidays after a week of being in continual contact with carriers. I kinda feel like God smote me down for thinking I was somehow more highly evolved than diseased friends, relatives, and lovers.

To be frank, I think the only way to not get caught is to shoot the infected in the head.
posted by pokermonk at 1:23 PM on January 14, 2009


I had this a year ago and while I'll spare you the AMAZINGLY disgusting details, I did end up stomach-down on the floor, TV blasting away, too weak and in pain to get up. The TV was showing an episode of "Action" and I thought:

"Oh God, I'm going to die and the last thing I'll see is Jay Mohr's face."
posted by The Whelk at 1:27 PM on January 14, 2009


There are some lucky ones that have either immunity or strong resistance to NoV.

Strangely enough one immunity factor is related to blood type.

If you have blood type B, you're likely to escape the worst of it.

However if you have blood type O. That is bad news. If I read the stats right, you are 12 times more likely to be susceptible than other blood types.

How about an unofficial victim poll of our blood types?

I'll start. I'm O. :-(
posted by storybored at 1:27 PM on January 14, 2009


My blood type as well as my motto is "B" positive.

That's not really my motto.
posted by infinitywaltz at 1:32 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


O. Shit.
posted by The Whelk at 1:36 PM on January 14, 2009


Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet

As opposed to doing what with it? Are there collectors?
posted by JaredSeth at 1:40 PM on January 14, 2009




I had this last year and lost about ten pounds. It was downright horrid awesome.
posted by jock@law at 1:52 PM on January 14, 2009


::Running away from thread::
posted by droplet at 1:54 PM on January 14, 2009


"You got vomitus in my stool!" Finally, two great tastes that were meant to be together!
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:57 PM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


When I have gotten it I also manage to get the killer headache from hell...

That headache could also be caffine withdrawal. People with Norwalk can't keep anything down, and that include stheir daily coffee dose.
posted by Faze at 1:58 PM on January 14, 2009


I'm O.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 2:07 PM on January 14, 2009


Vomit! (self link)
posted by stinkycheese at 2:09 PM on January 14, 2009


There is nothing that I hate more than vomiting. I'm borderline emetophobic. One time, in my senior year of college, I got the most violent awful stomach flu of my life (8 hrs of barfing every 30 mins. I barfed up bile AND my stomach lining), and had to have someone around to HOLD MY HAND through the whole thing so I didn't go mental on top of being violently ill.

Luckily, everyone else in my house got it too, so the friend who had just gotten over it stayed with me because she didn't have to worry about *catching* it. Good times.

(And yeah, I lost ten pounds. Since I was 10 lbs. underweight, that meant that at graduation, I was practically skeletal having lost an additional five pounds to stress.)

I would almost rather die than get the stomach flu, if only to avoid the mental anguish.

(I got an A+ in blood! Though it looks from the link that this does me absolutely no good whatsoever, type A isn't even mentioned in the synoposis.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:12 PM on January 14, 2009


I'm reading this on a college campus while feeling a little nauseous and knowing one of my friends has a stomach bug. Almost thought it was time to panic, but then I got to the comment about blood types. Now I'm quite relieved, since I do have the B antigen. Yay!
posted by mismatched at 2:27 PM on January 14, 2009


i had this last winter for a few days. had i wished, i could have shit through a screen door from 20 feet away and never got it wet.
posted by kitchenrat at 2:27 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


When I get this kind of sickness, I seldom actually vomit; I also seldom get a fever. Unfortunately, they are replaced by hours of immobility and the feeling that it might be better for me to spoon out my innards than to continue to suffer their presence.

When I got the norovirus, I made the mistake of taking an "anti-nausea"medication my doctor prescribed. Within five minutes of taking it I suffered the most painful vomiting episode I have ever had. It shames me to admit, but I cursed his name soundly. Not that you could understand me.

"GOD DAMN YOU DOCTYARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGH MOTHERFUYARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGH"
posted by sonic meat machine at 2:30 PM on January 14, 2009


Had this, and I'm not ashamed to say it was on a cruise ship in Alaska. About a quarter of the 80 passengers got it. Bad news, though I was lucky enough to get a mild enough case that I could drink water throughout. It burned itself out faster than expected, which is good, because we were told the ship wasn't going to be allowed back on shore until the outbreak subsided.

Last month my three-year-old, my wife, and my mother-in-law caught it, presumably via the fecal-oral superhighway that is a holiday party with lots of toddlers in attendance. Somehow I was spared, or at least dealt a glancing blow. I credit lots of handwashing. Or that I'm type AB. Seriously, people, read these guidelines and follow them when there's a sufferer in the house. I promise, avoiding this bug is worth the trouble.

Also, the norovirus has a blog.
posted by escabeche at 2:31 PM on January 14, 2009


Oh, so that's what I had. Yeah, that was hideous. One of those, "the only reason I'm not in the ER is because I can't stop puking long enough to get there" moments. Those are so much fun. I'm looking at you too, food poisoning from shrimp salad. But, yeah, how come my husband can go around never washing his hands, never using hand sanitizer, being around me when I have this, and NEVER GET SICK? The world is unfair.

On preview, I guess I need to check his blood type.
posted by threeturtles at 2:33 PM on January 14, 2009


Where I'm from we call it the "Winter Vomit Disease". My only personal experience of it is making out with a nurse that had time off because the whole hospital floor had to be sanitized or something because all her patients kept dying from it.

The winter vomit disease is totally awesome. I don't care if it makes all you other people feel bad because it made me feel good once.
posted by uandt at 2:37 PM on January 14, 2009


oh god, my flatmate was just down with that one. Looked really really horrible. I so don't want to catch that...
posted by kolophon at 2:50 PM on January 14, 2009


One year in college I ended up getting something that sounds a lot like this right before finals, and I was throwing up every hour on the hour or if I sat up for about three days. I had some amazingly awesome professors who let me reschedule my finals, but I guess they didn't have much choice when they heard my voice on the phone.
posted by you're a kitty! at 2:53 PM on January 14, 2009


Like wherever uandt is, we call it winter vomit disease here as well. This year, daughter has it once so far (right now, in fact), last year she had it four times and infected pretty much anyone within hearing distance. The current strain going around has already infected 125,000 Swedes this year and is considered one of the worse outbreaks.
posted by dabitch at 2:58 PM on January 14, 2009


"You got vomitus in my stool!" Finally, two great tastes that were meant to be together! ...

both ends folks! both ends!

I think the proper medical term is yakarrhea.

Individuals with an O phenotype were more likely to be infected with NV (odds ratio [OR], 11.8; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.3-103), whereas persons with a B histo-blood group antigen had decreased risk of infection (OR, 0.096; 95% CI, 0.16-0.56) and symptomatic disease (OR, 0; 95% CI, 0-0.999).

I'm with infinitywaltz: B+. I'm not a scientist or statistician, but do those numbers mean that I am 123 times less likely to contract Norovirus that a person with O blood?

HELL, YEAH! Fuck you, O'ers!
posted by mrgrimm at 3:05 PM on January 14, 2009


Well, good news just in. When I had this (year before last, and I pray never, EVER again), I was laid low by it for 2 days. On the morning of the 2nd day, my dad got out of the house and went to the pharmacy to see whether they had anything for severe nausea. I have no idea what he said, as I didn't have a prescription, but he came back with a stash of 10 tiny tiny tiny Valoids tablets and said "Take one and apparently you'll feel better."

Valoids tablets are from the antihistamine family, and are usually used for motion sickness. But they are wonderful. No nausea at all 30 minutes later, and barely any consciousness or ability to move about 20 minutes after that. Worth trying to get them if you don't have to be awake at all. Full effects for about 3 hours, and you start feeling a little sick again about an hour after that, but it will seem like nothing compared to the churning, bile-ridden horror you went through before.
posted by paperpete at 3:20 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you have loved ones who are determined to be brave, selfless nursemaids for you in your time of norovirus need?

Do not let them.

Mr. F had it better than I did (damn you, Trader Joe's tofu noodle bowl), but that just meant that he was OK lying on the floor in a heap of blankets, audibly praying for death. I was in the fetal position on the bed with my head in a trashcan, lying on a trash bag in case the yakarrhea started before I could get to the bathroom, for three days straight.

F------ do not want again.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:37 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


A neg.
Never had this stuff
Don't want
That's all
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:38 PM on January 14, 2009


That headache could also be caffine withdrawal. People with Norwalk can't keep anything down, and that includes their daily coffee dose.

That happened to me. Talk about piling misery on top of misery. I used the opportunity to kick caffeine once and for all though. I figured if I was already one week through two weeks of suffering, I might as well keep going.
posted by diogenes at 3:48 PM on January 14, 2009


How funny. After gorging myself at a buffet restaurant the two days prior, I manged to up-chuck all over the bathroom this afternoon, while simultaneously shitting diarrhea. Five protles of vomit flying up to three feet.

Added bonus, I ate 7 oz+. of M&M Almonds and half a bag of pretzels with peanut butter centers. (I quite smoking January 2, so I'm hungry all the time.), so it's a peanut butter chocolately mess.

The fever, pain, chills though the thermostat is set to 80 F, and the sulfur farts and burps convince me it's novovirus. Of course, I'm also sitting in a hotel room, for added fun (a room I haven't gotten before, no less). I think the thermostat is lying; I huddled under the thin covers with my laptop charging to use its warmth, poking my hose out for fresh air..

I awoke a few minutes ago, drank some white grape juice and promptly threw it up. So far the Constant Comment Tea is staying down. I'm feeling too weak to go out and get Gatorade.
posted by orthogonality at 3:49 PM on January 14, 2009


if I don't make it, give my account to Blazecock.
posted by orthogonality at 3:53 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry to hear of all the pain and suffering above...but this is the funniest thread in ages! Keep up the good work, everyone!
posted by Bron at 4:04 PM on January 14, 2009


That headache could also be caffine withdrawal. People with Norwalk can't keep anything down, and that include stheir daily coffee dose.

Oh yeah! Anyone who is dependent on anything taken orally (psych. meds, pain killers, alcohol, etc.) is in for a real fucking treat here. All you functional alcoholics out there get ready for all the joy of a stomach flu combined with mild DTs. This is a week of raw, mind-shattering fun!


...not that I would know anything about that.
posted by Avelwood at 4:13 PM on January 14, 2009


As a public service for anyone who comes to this thread later:

I came down with it a few days ago, at around midnight. By 10am the next morning I had been throwing up pretty continually, with no water held down. Having gotten it only 5 years before, I'd almost gone to the doctor that time. This time, right after a bout during that brief window of okayishness, I called up and then went down to the clinic, where they fairly promptly gave me an anti-nausea shot, and after I could hold down water, gave me a bunch of pills to take every 8 hours to keep down the nausea. I didn't throw up once after that, though I was pretty poorly for at least 4 days afterwards.

So: they can't cure it, but dammit, they do have pretty good medicine to alleviate the main symptom. I really don't know why doctors don't advocate this more. I imagine they don't want to waste their time with symptoms that dissipate after only a couple days, but you'd think curbing the puking might decrease the contagion effect. In any case, speaking purely selfishly, hauling myself down to the clinic between puking bouts was one of the best decisions I've made in months. They have the medicine -- sometimes it just has to be wrested from them. In my case, they were slightly equivocal on the phone about whether I needed to come in, but with just a tiny bit of pushing, they said fine, come on in (they're always worried about dehydration), and I was much the better for it.
posted by chortly at 4:16 PM on January 14, 2009


Anyone who is dependent on anything taken orally (psych. meds, pain killers, alcohol, etc.) is in for a real fucking treat here.

WORD.

Throwing up + Fever - Anticonvulsants = SEIZURE CITY.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:35 PM on January 14, 2009


Reading this thread made me queasy.
posted by dilettante at 4:54 PM on January 14, 2009


Orthogonality, get well soon, man.
posted by storybored at 5:06 PM on January 14, 2009


Gatorade sometimes goes down worse in those situations than water. For me, it was pretty evenly "anything will make you yark," but Gatorade made it somewhat more wrenching. Gatorade and water 25/75 didn't even make it all the way down.

The last day, though, I woke up, had a glass of water, looked around philosophically, and promptly vomited up the entire glass-- after which I was fine. That last yark induced some sort of internal purging of the norovirus demons. After that, I was fine, although pretty tired and achey.

still hopelessly amused by the word "yakarrhea"
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:32 PM on January 14, 2009


The tea is staying down; I'm re-filling it and re-microwaving,so it's really weak, hot water with a hint of taste. I took two naproxen sodiums, and had a restless sleep in which I kept getting almost, but not quite warm enough -- it was like living Jack London's "To Build a Fire".

Should I take pepto or not? Two years of living out of hotels has given me an extensive but badly disorganized OTC pharamacy. And a tin of cat food, because you never know when you might run into a hungry cat.
posted by orthogonality at 5:53 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Just had a friend do the norwalk thing. I keep expecting to get it myself. As a kid I would get the "stomach flu," which I now suspect were sometimes norovirus caused, at least once a year. To me, throwing up for three days straight was standard procedure when you got sick, to the point that I remember getting a garden variety cold when I was nine or ten and thinking "what the hell is this stuffy-nose, coughing deal? Where's the bucket and saltines?" Especially memorable were the episodes that led to me being known for a year as the kid who threw up all over the school bus and the Christmas that my entire family, mother, father and two sisters, came down with it. Christmas dinner that year was a sad, sad affair. And now it turns out that my blood type (O-pos) probably had something to do with it all, crazy.
posted by otolith at 5:56 PM on January 14, 2009


I think that this is what I had the one time during my adult life that I wished that my mother could have been there while I was sick. That one was a real doozy.

Then there was the one my kids had a couple years ago - I think it was this. They were vomiting while they were asleep/passed out. I ended up sleeping next to their beds for three days. Good thing they are all in the same room! This sickness also convinced me that I will never own a house with wall to wall carpet in the kid's bedroom.

wife of 445supermag
posted by 445supermag at 6:33 PM on January 14, 2009


God, I wish you'd posted this a week ago.

Last Wednesday night my 2 1/2 year old son threw up out of the blue, right at bedtime, and continued to vomit every 25 minutes all night long. Some time Thursday he graduated to only throwing up every 4-5 hours, and then Thursday night the pooping started. Friday his Ped basically said to us "its a virus, we can't help." This continued over Saturday and Sunday, and he infected both his grandparents with it on Saturday because we left him there overnight -- his father had come down with it and I needed a break from taking care of both of them.

Sunday we wasted three hours at the ER for them to tell us again "its just a virus, there isn't anything we can do." They didn't even want to give him an IV to hydrate him! Christ! Had I known about the anti-nausea drugs it would have been helpful in trying to get propper treatment for him. (Maybe they're not safe for toddlers??)

He was sick for almost 96 hours and lost 5 lbs (13% of his body weight), and now he won't drink juice in any form .... I assume because it reminds him of when he was throwing up.

Nothing sadder, let me tell you, than watching your baby boy, clad only in a diaper, clutch the side of the tub as he retches and cries at the same time, and having him beg you to make it stop. "No, Mamma, I don't wanna. I don't wanna throw. Mamma, stop it. STOP IT."
posted by anastasiav at 6:47 PM on January 14, 2009


anastasiav writes "Had I known about the anti-nausea drugs it would have been helpful in trying to get propper treatment for him. (Maybe they're not safe for toddlers??)"

There's an oral anti-nausea drug used for chemo patients. It's looks and tastes like a candy, a strawberry flavored soft creme. It works. It also costs $50 per dose, so I've only ever used it when I got it free.
posted by orthogonality at 6:55 PM on January 14, 2009


It looks like they're working on a vaccine, but there are some obstacles.
posted by dilettante at 7:33 PM on January 14, 2009


Does anyone know if Dramamine helps the nausea? This article says it does, but I haven't found much else (and I hope I never, ever have this, because I fucking hate puking).
posted by dilettante at 7:35 PM on January 14, 2009


Pepto is great. It makes your next round of vomiting nice and pink.
posted by speedo at 8:57 PM on January 14, 2009


Buddy of mine got this. It's astonishing how sudden it is. We were talking, he got a concerned look on his face midsentence and technicolor yawned into a nearby trashcan. Drove him home, but every few minutes it'd come out. Got him back just before it started coming out the other end.
Went home, took a shower, lysoled the car, etc. Damn man, do not want that.
Also I didn't finish my burrito.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:04 PM on January 14, 2009


What they gave me was called Trimethobenzamide -- $5 copay, best $5 I've spent in a long time. From something the doctor said in passing, it sounded like over-the-counter anti-nausea medicine like Dramamine might also have helped somewhat. Though I often take Pepto when traveling in developing countries, to great effect, this totally overwhelmed its mild-mannered efforts.
posted by chortly at 9:07 PM on January 14, 2009


anastasiav, I've done that too, back when my oldest daughter was maybe three. Just awful, awful, awful. Poor kid, and poor you.

I fear we might be in for it again as a case of the icky bomit is making its way through my younger daughter's preschool.

Hope everyone gets better soon. And that we are miraculously spared.
posted by Sublimity at 9:12 PM on January 14, 2009


How do you tell the difference between a norovirus infection and any other gastrointestinal virus? I mean, a lot of folks are saying, 'I had this,' but to me it sounds like the symptoms are pretty much the same as any other generic stomach bug

Well, technically, the norovirus family is really almost any virus that causes gastroenteritis. You could call it "generic stomach bug" and be pretty accurate.

The Norwalk (Ohio, not Connecticut) outbreak in 1968 led to the use of "Norwalk-like virus", but in 2002 the International Committee for the Taxonomy of Viruses adopted "norovirus", which is why it's something that's been around forever that you've only just heard of.
posted by dhartung at 9:52 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


hauling myself down to the clinic between puking bouts was one of the best decisions I've made in months

Probably not for everyone else in the clinic though! Around this time of year, GP clinics and ER depts here have signs telling people to go home and get plenty of fluids and rest if they have diarrhoea and vomiting. If I'd have been in that clinic for, say, a broken toe and come out with the norovirus I'd be pissed.

I had it, again, just before xmas. Try adding lemon juice, sugar and salt to your water so you're still getting some nutrients, you poor afflicted things.
posted by goo at 11:44 PM on January 14, 2009


This infected last year's JavaOne conference in the Moscone Center.

I was there and thankfully didn't catch that although I did get a nasty cold. The infrastructure was generally bad. Very few power outlets, inadequate A/C, useless wifi and no hard Ethernet ports, and it seems the kitchen staff didn't wash their hands after pooping and before handling the food either.

There were a few good seminars and a lot of marketing fluff.
posted by vsync at 11:50 PM on January 14, 2009


Oh and I heard one presenter pasesd out on stage.
posted by vsync at 11:50 PM on January 14, 2009


Adding to the pile... I had this a couple of years ago over the christmas holidays. Continuous, simultaneous explosions from both ends for three days. Spent 90% of the time that was not actually expelling hazardous material trying to sleep curled up on a bathmat in the bathroom, petrified of being more than 6 feet away from porcelain. For the first and only time in my life, I truly thought I was going to die.

I had almost blocked that memory out, until this thread. Thanks a lot.
posted by cgg at 12:55 AM on January 15, 2009


Good lord, this thing is airborne? What should I do the next time I'm in a room with someone who starts puking (not that I can remember the last time that's happened to me)?

Wow. This is something else not to look forward to. Thank god it's brief and non-fatal(?).
posted by theefixedstars at 3:05 AM on January 15, 2009


I came down with noro a couple years ago, just after I had started work at a new kindergarten/preschool. The first wave of puking hit me while I was on the train home from Osaka..... I hope I never get sick on a rush-hour, express train EVER AGAIN.

After that I was throwing up every 15 minutes for a couple of days. Couldn't keep anything, even water, down. Ended up losing about 6-7 kilograms.


the one time during my adult life that I wished that my mother could have been there while I was sick.

Me too.
posted by emmling at 3:29 AM on January 15, 2009


Metafilter: no hard Ethernet ports, and it seems the kitchen staff didn't wash their hands after pooping.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:21 AM on January 15, 2009


The pill they usually give you is Zofran. It works like magic but it is expensive as hell (~$35 per pill) and I don't think the pharmacy gives it out to people without a doctor's prescription.
posted by clueless22 at 7:46 AM on January 15, 2009


Nothing sadder, let me tell you, than watching your baby boy, clad only in a diaper, clutch the side of the tub as he retches and cries at the same time, and having him beg you to make it stop.

Anastasia, that hurt to read. I have 2.5 year-old as well, and if he caught something as pernicious as Noro, I'm pretty sure I'd be a wreck.

Your little guy's okay now, yes? Give us some good news.
posted by illiad at 10:48 AM on January 15, 2009


I'm almost terrified to go outside, now. Thanks, all. Of course, I also don't trust my housemates, and I have B+ blood, sooo...I guess it's a coin toss.
posted by redsparkler at 12:37 PM on January 15, 2009


I had this twice in winter/spring 2006 (universities are horrible breeding grounds for this kind of thing). Despite having a B blood type I wouldn't wish it on my worse enemy. The first time I though I was going to die and when I felt it coming on the second time I wish I could die. My only coping mechanism for the puking was ice cream. For once I could eat all I wanted and when it came back up it was the best thing I found for numbing the burning of the bile.

vsync writes "it seems the kitchen staff didn't wash their hands after pooping and before handling the food either."

It's insanely hard to get rid of. All you need is some passing customer to sneeze in the direction of the kitchen and all your staff can come down with it. And then you practically have to burn your kitchen down and rebuild to get rid of it.
posted by Mitheral at 6:28 PM on January 15, 2009


For anyone still reading this thread way down here, I have some advice regarding this most evil of afflictions: Please be very wary of rapid dehydration. When I came down with Norovirus, I became so dehydrated in 4.5 hours that I came close to death. I was lucky someone could take me to the clinic (where I passed out in the waiting room.) The doc said my blood pressure was so low that he couldn't believe I hadn't had a cardiac arrest. IV fluids saved me. And anti-nausea drugs - whoever invented those should be sainted.
posted by shifafa at 11:24 PM on January 15, 2009


Your little guy's okay now, yes? Give us some good news.

Yes, he's fine. He's painfully, painfully thin, but fine. He woke me up at 430 this morning demanding juice and food, so I think he's going to be working hard on putting that lost weight back on.
posted by anastasiav at 9:20 AM on January 16, 2009


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