Ten Facts About Norovirus

Also known as the winter vomiting bug, Norovirus is a highly contagious group of viruses which can cause gastroenteritis in humans of all ages.

Discover more about the virus, including how to reduce the risk of catching and spreading it, with our 10 quick facts about Norovirus.


1. Although it is most commonly caught during the winter months, the Norovirus infection can be caught all year round.


2. Norovirus is spread by inhaling contaminated air or by touching contaminated surfaces as it can survive outside of the body for several days.


3. Norovirus can also be spread through food so ensure that you wash any fresh fruit or vegetables before use and only eat oysters from approved sources as some shellfish can carry the virus too.


4. Buildings where people are in close contact like hospitals, schools, restaurants, cruise ships and hotels can be badly affected as the virus can spread quickly leading to closures or quarantines.


5. The most common symptoms consist of nausea, vomiting and watery diarrhoea, whilst some people also can suffer from fever, headaches, stomach cramps and aching limbs.


6. Usually symptoms will start to appear within 48 hours of being infected and can last for about 2-3 days.


7. There’s no specific treatment for Norovirus and as it is a virus antibiotics cannot help, so the best treatment is to stay at home and make sure you stay hydrated and eat plain food when you can to settle your stomach.


8. If your symptoms don’t improve after a few days then you might need to seek medical attention to be prescribed an antisickness or antidiarrhoel medication.  The NHS advises against visiting hospitals or your GP surgery whilst you are suffering with Norovirus so call your doctor over the phone for advice.


9. Practicing good hygiene can help prevent the spread of Norovirus, so make sure you disinfect any surfaces, wash infected clothing or bedding at the highest recommended temperature separately from other clothes, and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water as alcohol hand gels will not kill the virus.


10. Be aware that the virus could still be contagious for around 48 hours after your symptoms have stopped as the bacteria might still be present in faecal matter, so avoid going back to work, school or visiting hospitals during this time and make sure you’re fully recovered.


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Image: CDC

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