Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Norovirus infections usually occur suddenly with a person feeling very sick with nausea and vomiting and watery diarrhea and stomach cramps. At times people may have a low grade fever as well as chills, headache, muscle aches and a general sense of tiredness. Symptoms usually begin 24 and 48 hours after ingesting the virus and occasionally sooner.

During the acute phase people should try to avoid becoming dehydrated by drinking juice, water or an electrolyte replacement such as Gatorade or Pedialyte. Rest, coupled with Tylenol or Ibuprofen as prescribed on the containers may be taken for aches and fever.

Currently there is no medication that works against Norovirus. Most people get better within one or two days, however, if the illness persists, or becomes severe, they should seek medical help.  Recovery is usually complete with no long term health effects.

Prevention

People can decrease their chance of becoming infected by washing their hands thoroughly and frequently, especially after using the rest room, changing diapers, and before preparing food or eating. Fruits and vegetables should be carefully washed before being eaten, and a bleach-based household cleaner used to clean contaminated surfaces.

Vomit and stool should be flushed in the toilet and the surrounding areas should be kept clean. Hot water and soap can be used to wash clothing or linens. It is important for people to practice good hand washing techniques and other hygienic practices after they have recovered from a Norovirus illness.