By Christina Wilson
As the world moves towards the seeming end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the emergence of another virus has been on the news. The norovirus outbreak has been a concern for many in New York City and on Long Island.
The norovirus, also known as viral gastroenteritis or “winter vomiting disease,” was initially identified as a cause of gastroenteritis in the late 1960s, but it was only recently identified under its current name as a result of innovation in diagnostic methods, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The virus can induce vomiting and diarrhea, and it is contagious through the air, surfaces, food and water.
Artwork by Saffah Azeem
The norovirus primarily attacks the gastrointestinal system of the body leading to symptoms such as irregular bowel movements and abdominal pain.
In March, almost 100 students at Babylon High School were absent due to a suspected norovirus outbreak. Hearing about this outbreak, many New Hyde Park students are concerned about a potential one taking place at NHP.
“Similar to how the COVID pandemic was disguised with signs of the flu and the common cold, the norovirus is also disguised with symptoms like vomiting and stomach cramping. As our community must still be concerned of the spread of illness, NHP should definitely not overlook any feelings of uneasiness when it comes to their health,” junior Aparna Shibu said.
A virus of such contagious nature brings questions as to what individuals should do to either prevent its spread or treat it. The main method for precaution is maintaining proper hygiene: washing hands with soap and water, cleaning produce before consumption and wiping surfaces with bleach. If one contracts the virus, there is no set treatment other than managing the symptoms. For instance, vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, and consistently drinking water aids in counteracting these symptoms. It is also recommended to drink beverages containing electrolytes such as Gatorade to combat electrolyte imbalance from vomiting. In terms of diet, healthcare officials recommend eating bland and light foods in order to prevent uncontrollable vomiting.
“I think it’s super important to keep yourself and your surroundings clean in terms of hygiene. People have definitely become more conscious of that since the rise of COVID,” senior Ayesha Rashid said.
Ultimately, the emergence of norovirus in New York City and Long Island has caused concern among communities and especially students. However, the outbreak serves as a reminder of the importance of practicing good hygiene to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.