Have you heard of a Winter Vomiting Bug or the Winter Vomiting Disease? For those who haven’t, must know that, according to CDC, it is the most common bug in UK and the leading cause of food-borne diseases in US . Norovirus, or the winter vomiting bug, affects people of all age and is highly contagious. It gets this name because of its higher frequency of occurrence during the chilly season.Wondering why this article is titled with a herb when all I’m blabbering about is a disease? Well, read on and you’ll get the connection.
Oregano, as we know is herb that gives that savory smell and taste in pizza we all love. In a recent study published in journal of Applied Microbiology, it was summarised that carvacrol, a primary ingredient in oregano oil has been found 99.99% effective against this virus . Carvacrol is a plant compound and hence safe for human consumption.
Aren’t stomach acids able to kill the virus?
Nope. Norovirus is a non-enveloped virus, which has a protective shell around it, called the Caspid. With the help of this shell, the virus passes easily through the stomach unharmed by the acids and targets GI tract (digestive tract).
Carvacrol breaks down outer hard shell of the virus, leaving its RNA genome naked, which is inactivated by the stomach acids. Scientists believe it can potentially be used as food sanitiser or surface sanitiser.
Sanitising food? That’s a weirdsome good news actually.
Okay, so, what happens in a Winter Vomiting disease?
Norovirus outbreaks are more common in semi closed environments, like schools, hospitals, cruise ships, etc. This disease is characterized by extreme dehydration due to forceful vomiting and watery diarrhea. To kill the virus, body’s temperature rise to 100 degrees Fahrenheit followed by stomach cramps, headaches and pain in limbs.
Should you rush to your GP?
Not until it doesn’t go away by itself even after four days.
The incubation period of virus is 12 – 48 hours during which you may be infectious for other people. There is no actual cure for the disease so you should let the virus run its course. Knowing it has no long term effects is quite a relief here. But the time this norovirus vacations in your body can be really unpleasant. So, taking an anti-pyretic like Paracetamol to treat fever and body ache is okay. The virus will go away all by itself after four days. The only thing you really need to take care of is KEEPING YOURSELF HYDRATED at all times.
Person is still contagious even after 4 days of lapse of symptoms. This is what all you should do if you contract norovirus:
- Keep yourself hydrated
- Eat easily digestible food
- Stay away from babies and kids
- Keep your surroundings and hands disinfected
- Don’t share your towels, soaps or flannels with anyone
What can I do to prevent the disease?
Simply put, Keep It Clean and stock on all those free Oregano sachets! 😉
 Norovirus Surveillance among Callers to Foodborne Illness Complaint Hotline, Minnesota, USA, 2011–2013  Lambert, R.J.W. , Skandamis, P.N. , Coote, P.J. and Nychas, G.-J.E. (2001). A study of the minimum inhibitory concentration and mode of action of oregano essential oil, thymol and carvacrol. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 91: 453–462. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2672.2001.01428.x