We all have caught the ‘stomach bug’ at least once in our lives. This is when we experience stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea suddenly and have to take prescription medicines to get better. The most common cause of such conditions is norovirus.
Talking about stomach infections, gastroenteritis is one of the most common infections in which the stomach and intestines get inflamed and cause a range of symptoms. While there are many causes of a gastroenteritis infection, like salmonella, e. coli, and rotavirus, norovirus is one of the most common ones. It is a highly contagious virus that accounts for numerous outbreaks of food-borne infections.
Despite spreading quickly, norovirus infection is self-limiting. This means that most patients suffering from gastroenteritis due to norovirus recover completely within a few days. However, if the infection attacks an individual with a weak immune system, then the complications can increase, resulting in severe symptoms.
In such cases, the patient needs to be immediately hospitalised and requires urgent medical attention. This would mean managing the costs of emergency medical services and hospital charges. Without a health insurance policy, you have to bear all the costs, which can strain your finances.
To keep your finances secure and manage such medical emergencies, it is important to buy a health insurance plan that offers comprehensive coverage and other benefits. With Tata AIG as your insurance partner, you can get a policy at highly affordable premium rates, a simplified claim settlement process, and top-notch customer service.
You can also boost the coverage by buying add-on covers like the critical illness insurance cover to receive a lump sum if diagnosed with a covered critical illness. In this article, we will talk about the symptoms, causes, treatment, and importance of a health insurance plan for Norovirus.
Norovirus is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis around the world. It is known to cause acute gastroenteritis and is highly contagious.
It belongs to the Caliciviridae family and is highly resistant to external factors like cold, heat, and many disinfectants. Hence, controlling an outbreak of norovirus is very difficult.
This is a food-borne virus that can spread through infected food or water or also via contaminated surfaces.
Types of Norovirus
Norovirus is a diverse RNA virus that causes acute gastroenteritis in mammals, including humans. They can be segregated into different genotypes and P-types.
Currently, there are 10 genogroups of norovirus (GI to GX) and 48 genotypes with 9 under GI, 27 under GII, 3 under GIII, 2 under GIV, 2 under GV, 2 under GVI, and 1 each under GVII, GVIII, GIX, and GX.
However, it is important to note that the difference between each genotype is not significant for the clinical diagnosis and treatment of the infection.
Since norovirus causes acute gastroenteritis, its symptoms are those of gastroenteritis as described below
Pain in the stomach This is one of the most common symptoms of norovirus. The patient might experience stomach cramps too that can make daily tasks difficult
Nausea This is also a common symptom of norovirus. Most patients have persistent nausea.
Vomiting A sudden vomiting bout is an early sign of norovirus infection. In some patients, the vomiting can be frequent, requiring medical attention
Diarrhea This is not a common symptom but can affect some patients. Make sure to talk to a doctor if the diarrhoea is severe.
Fever Some patients might develop a high fever
Headache, fatigue, and body ache Relatively rarer symptoms
It is important to see a doctor immediately if the vomiting or diarrhoea is severe. In most cases, the infection gets resolved even without treatment. However, if the person has a weak immune system, then complications can increase and result in severe symptoms like dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and malnutrition.
Causes of Norovirus infection
The primary source of norovirus infection is contaminated water or food. If you eat food or drink water that has norovirus, then you are likely to get infected. While raw vegetables and fruits have been primarily identified as the cause of a norovirus infection, undercooked oysters have also been found guilty on a few occasions.
Apart from consuming infected food or water, you can also get norovirus infected if you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes, mouth, or nose. The virus can survive extreme temperatures and live in water too.
If an infected person shares his/her food or utensils, then norovirus can spread rapidly. It can also get airborne if an infected person vomits. Further, an infant infected with the virus will have it in the diapers that can spread to other people in contact with the diapers.
** Norovirus Risk Factors**
Eating or drinking at a place where the food or utensils have been handled by someone with an infection
Being present in areas where people are in close quarters. In such situations, even one person with a norovirus infection can cause an outbreak
Diagnosis of Norovirus
Here is how a doctor diagnoses norovirus infection:
The doctor physically examines the patient and looks for symptoms, like a fever, and asks about the symptoms experienced. Once he is certain about a stomach infection, he can recommend lab tests to determine whether it is norovirus or something else.
A stool test is one of the best ways to identify norovirus in a patient. If the virus is found in the stool, then a blood test can be conducted to look for antibodies to the virus in the bloodstream.
Being a self-limiting disease, there is no cure for norovirus as it runs its course in 2-3 days. Unless the symptoms are severe or there is a risk of complications, you don’t need medicines for norovirus. You must take adequate rest, drink a lot of fluids, and eat small and simple meals to help battle the infection with ease.
If the symptoms are severe or you are experiencing dehydration or extreme weakness, then you must consult a doctor immediately.
How to Prevent Norovirus?
Once there is a norovirus outbreak, it is very difficult to stop norovirus transmission since the virus can survive in air, water, and on surfaces. It can also survive extreme cold and hot temperatures. However, here are some tips to help you prevent getting a norovirus infection**
Keep your hands clean and sanitised If you are aware of a norovirus outbreak, then make it a practice to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds every time to come from outside or touch any other object. Remember, alcohol-based sanitisers are not as effective as soap and water.
Avoid eating from unhygienic places During outbreaks, it is important to avoid eating from places that do not prioritise hygiene as it can result in the spread of the virus.
Wash vegetables and fruits Raw fruits and vegetables are the primary causes of norovirus. Hence, make sure that you wash fruits and vegetables carefully before eating.
Disinfect surfaces A chlorine-based bleach is effective against noroviruses. Make sure that you disinfect surfaces using a chlorine bleach solution
Why Buy a Medical Insurance Plan?
While the diagnosis and treatment of norovirus are not costly, if you develop complications or severe symptoms, then you might need to be immediately hospitalised. This can cause financial strain. When you opt for a medical insurance plan from Tata AIG, you get a range of benefits including
Comprehensive coverage When you buy a health insurance policy from Tata AIG, you get coverage for a range of expenses like hospitalisation, ambulance costs, consultation charges, diagnostic tests, etc.
Cashless hospitalisation With Tata AIG’s wide network of hospitals, you can get cashless treatments done in a hassle-free manner. Ensure you get admitted to a network hospital and get approval from Tata AIG for cashless treatment.
Affordable premiums Tata AIG ensures that the premiums offered are competitive and cost-efficient. Hence, you get maximum value for your money.
Reimbursement claims For policyholders preferring a non-network hospital for treatment, Tata AIG offers a simple reimbursement claim process. This allows you to get reimbursement for the money spent on hospitalisation and treatment in no time.
**Health Insurance Tax Benefits
Section 80D of the Income Tax Act 1961 offers a tax deduction on the amount paid towards the premium of a health insurance policy. This policy can be for yourself, your spouse, your kids, and your parents. You can even claim deductions for two separate policies if you buy one for yourself and a separate policy for your dependent parents.
How to Buy Tata AIG’s Health Insurance?
Here is a quick look at the process to buy Tata AIG health insurance:
Go to the Health Insurance Page
Choose the family members that would be covered under the policy.
Provide some personal information and contact details to proceed
Click on “See Plans” and go through the list of health insurance plans displayed on your screen
Choose the best plan to get optimum coverage for you and your loved ones
Select the optimum sum insured
Click on ‘Buy Now’
We will call you to complete the buying process
Visit the nearest Tata AIG office
Share your requirements with our representative and go through the plans offered
Select the best plan for your needs
Choose the perfect sum insured
Fill out the required forms and attach the necessary documents
Pay the fees
Documents Needed to buy Tata AIG Medical Insurance Plan
You will be required to submit a range of documents to establish your identity, address, and age with Tata AIG. You will also be asked to submit other documents as deemed necessary based on the kind of coverage you are looking for. While the documents required can vary with each policyholder, here is a list of some common documents that you must keep handy before applying**
Age Proof Aadhar Card, passport, etc.
Address Proof Utility bill, bank statement, etc.
Identity Proof PAN Card, Aadhar Card, etc.
Medical History Doctor’s reports and test results of any pre-existing disease
Other documents IT returns, proof of income, etc.
What to Look for in a Health Insurance Plan?
If the norovirus infection starts causing complications or severe symptoms, then you might have to be hospitalised immediately. Without a health insurance policy, you will have to bear these expenses. Therefore, make sure to look for a policy that helps you manage such costs with ease. Here are some things to look for in a health insurance plan**
Maximum sum insured This is the maximum coverage you can get under the policy. The costs of medical care are different in different towns and cities. Hence, make sure that you are aware of the medical costs in your city/town so that you can choose the sum insured accordingly.
Premium reduction options The insurance company will make an offer of the premium for the policy that you want to buy. If the premium is beyond your budget, then instead of reducing the coverage or features, look for options like co-payment and voluntary deductible. These options allow you to reduce the premium without compromising the coverage.
Hospital Network Top insurers have a wide network of hospitals and healthcare providers to help their customers get the best medical facilities. Look for an insurer that has hospitals close to you in its network to avoid travelling long distances to get to a network hospital.
Things to Remember when Filing a Claim for Norovirus
A health insurance policy covers the costs of medical treatments and hospitalisation for covered medical conditions and diseases. When you are unwell and seek medical attention, you can file a claim under the policy in one of these two ways:
1: Cashless claims
Check if your insurance provider offers cashless claim settlement. If yes, then look at the list of network hospitals and consider getting treated at one of those hospitals. In cashless claim settlement, the insurer settles your bills with the hospital directly. You do not have to pay first and file a claim later. Here are some things to remember for cashless claims:
Planned treatment: If your treatment has been planned, then make sure to inform your insurance provider at least five days before hospitalisation.
Emergency treatment: If the treatment hasn’t been planned, then make sure to inform your insurance provider within 24 hours of being hospitalised
2: Reimbursement claims
If your insurer does not offer cashless claim settlement or if you choose to get treated at a non-network hospital, then you need to file a reimbursement claim. You will have to pay the hospital and doctors and claim the expenses from the insurer later. Here are some things to remember for reimbursement claims:
Talk to your insurance provider and explain the situation. Get a list of documents that will be required to clear your claim
Collect all the documents requested by the insurer and submit them as requested
As soon as you are discharged from the hospital, you can file the claim
Here are some additional tips for norovirus claims:
Ensure that your policy is not expired and is active before commencing treatment.
Go through the policy documents carefully and pay attention to the inclusions, exclusions, and terms of the policy
Follow the claims process meticulously
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Disclaimer / TnC
Your policy is subjected to terms and conditions & inclusions and exclusions mentioned in your policy wording. Please go through the documents carefully.
Frequently Asked Question
Q1. How long can norovirus live on surfaces?
The answer to this question depends on the type of surface and the environmental conditions. However, norovirus is known to survive in different conditions for many days. Hence, if you suspect an infection, it is recommended to disinfect surfaces as regularly as possible.
Q2. Can you have norovirus without vomiting or diarrhoea?
Yes, symptoms can vary from one patient to another based on a range of factors. Some patients do not experience vomiting or diarrhoea as the symptoms but have a severe headache and fever too.
Q3. Will my health insurance cover the cost of testing for norovirus?
Most insurers will cover the costs of testing for norovirus as long as the doctor has asked for it. Make sure that you talk to your insurer about these aspects before signing the dotted line.
Q4. What if I am hospitalised for norovirus? Will my health insurance cover the cost?
A regular health insurance policy will cover the costs of hospitalisation and treatment for norovirus. Talk to the insurer and go through the policy documents before buying.