Symptoms of Norovirus Poisoning

Common Symptoms of the Norovirus

Norovirus, commonly known as the winter vomiting bug, is a stomach bug whose primary symptoms are vomiting and diarrhoea. Despite its unpleasant nature, it seldom lasts for very long and can be expected to pass after around two days. It is usually spread through close contact with infected people, coming into contact with it on surfaces and eating food that has been prepared by someone with the bug.

Norovirus causes the stomach or intestines to inflame and the main symptoms of the bug are vomiting and diarrhoea. You may also experience nausea, which is a feeling of sickness but which does not lead to vomiting. Other symptoms include a high temperature, headaches and aches in the limbs. Symptoms commonly arise between one and two days after the initial infection. Frequent washing of hands using soap and water is the best defence against the spread of norovirus. Avoid using alcohol hand gels as these have no effect against it.

Norovirus does not generally need any medical treatment. The best thing you can do if you contract norovirus is to have plenty of rest and to ensure you drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration, especially if your vomiting and diarrhoea is severe. You should avoid returning to school or work until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least two days.

This is the time when you are most infectious. It is essential that you do not visit a hospital or a care home during this time as the potential for the norovirus to spread are very high. You may need to seek help by calling 111 if you have suffered with diarrhoea for over seven days or vomiting for at least two or if there is blood in your diarrhoea or around the area of your anus. Call for medical assistance if you have a child under five years old who exhibits signs of dehydration, such as a decrease in the number of wet nappies.


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