It makes no difference whether you are traveling, backpacking, playing sports, or just living your everyday life. The Norovirus is something you do NOT want to get. Yet, thousands each year become infected.
When I was asked (Ariane writing here) to take part in a Norovirus Research Study, I jumped at the chance. Yea, I laugh just thinking about my enthusiasm. (what’s wrong with me)? As an Outdoor Guide and after hiking 300 miles of the Appalachian Trail this year, I witnessed myself how brutal getting sick outdoors really is. At least 5 people I was hiking with dropped off the trail because of the Norovirus. The bunkhouse I stayed in had to completely bleach everything because staff members were going down.
After spending 5 days in the hospital and logging every single “issue” I had while infected. It’s important to share what I learned to our outdoor friends. People I know that are planning a Long Distance Hike on the AT, or traveling across the country in their RV (as we are getting ready to do) We felt obligated to put together a PDF file that you can keep with you on your smart phone and reference it. Or at least think about how exposed you can be while out there.
How to prevent getting the Norovirus when you spend time in the outdoors is only the first step. Understanding how it spreads is crucial.
The most common cause of acute gastroenteritis and food borne disease outbreaks in the United States, norovirus, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is responsible for 19-20 million illnesses, leads to 1.7–1.9 million outpatient visits and 400,000 emergency department visits, primarily in young children, and contributes to 56,000-71,000 hospitalizations and 570-800 deaths annually in America.
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that can be contracted from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. -CDC
The virus causes acute inflammation of the stomach and intestines leading to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which usually last 1-3 days. Patients can also remain contagious for up to 3 days after the acute symptoms resolve.
I was genuinely surprised at the abrasive hastiness in which the virus appeared, perhaps I thinking it would have been a more gradual introduction of discomfort, slowing introducing it’s fowl play. – Ariane Petrucci
NOTES I took at the Hospital: Approximately every ten to fifteen minutes I’d have to remind myself to cite a promise “no regrets”: 10:48 – 11:36 – 1:09 – 1:11 – 2:12 – 2:25 – 2:32 – 2:44 – 2:56 – 2:59 – 3:17 – 3:40 – 3:56 – 4:15 – 4:46 – 4:49 – 5:25 – 6:13 – and finally tapering of at a final clocking of 8:05pm. At its pinnacle, I only had to endured less than seven hours of unspeakable hell before flipping the mend.
After it was all said and done. I was glad it was over. For those who would like to subscribe to a special e-mail outlining the Norovirus and how to prevent it. Just fill out the box below.