What is Norovirus?
Norovirus is a widespread virus that can lead to a sudden onset of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Often referred to as the "winter vomiting bug," it has a rapid onset and can cause severe symptoms.
If your symptoms persist for more than three days or are particularly severe, don't hesitate to seek medical help from one of our doctors online. Even though the virus usually clears up within a few days, it is always best to check with a doctor.
Our doctors can evaluate your symptoms, diagnose, and provide medication to help manage your symptoms if necessary.
What Causes the Norovirus?
Noroviruses are a type of viral infection that results in inflammation in the stomach and various parts of the digestive system.
These viruses are frequently mistaken for food poisoning as they can be transmitted through contaminated food. Nevertheless, they can also be sent through various means unrelated to food.
You contract norovirus by encountering something contaminated with the viruses responsible for the infection.
While food is often implicated, you can also become infected by touching surfaces or objects carrying the virus and subsequently touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Norovirus is prevalent in settings where large quantities of food are prepared, such as restaurants, nursing homes, and cruise ships.
It's a resilient and easily spread virus that can quickly pass from person to person. Individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to contracting noroviruses.
Symptoms of the Norovirus
Symptoms of norovirus are distinctive and include nausea, severe vomiting, and watery diarrhoea.
In some cases, individuals may also have a slightly elevated temperature and experience headaches, stomach cramps, and joint or muscle pains. The onset of the virus can be rapid, with a person going from feeling acceptable to becoming very ill within a few hours.
While the virus typically resolves on its own after a couple of days, its symptoms, while not usually severe, can lead to dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhoea. It's essential to ensure you stay well-hydrated.
Fortunately, complications are uncommon, but for those with weakened immune systems, such as individuals undergoing chemotherapy or living with HIV, norovirus can result in malnutrition, severe dehydration, and, in rare cases, even be fatal.
Treating the Norovirus
Antibiotics are ineffective against the norovirus as a virus causes it. Unfortunately, there are no antiviral medications available for treatment. However, the good news is that the norovirus typically resolves itself within a few days.
It is crucial to avoid dehydration to stay healthy while dealing with the virus. Keep yourself hydrated by consuming ample amounts of water and juices. Additionally, children can benefit from an oral rehydration solution.
It is best to avoid alcohol and sugary drinks, as these can worsen the effects of dehydration and diarrhoea.
Preventing the Norovirus
Preventing norovirus infection primarily revolves around practising proper hygiene. Because this virus spreads through contact with contaminated surfaces and food, it's crucial to frequently wash your hands, exercise caution when dealing with objects that could carry the virus, and regularly clean and disinfect surfaces, especially if someone in your home is unwell due to the virus.
Individuals who have contracted norovirus should refrain from preparing food for a few days after their symptoms have subsided, as there's still a risk of transmitting the infection.
Additionally, washing uncooked fruits and vegetables thoroughly and ensuring that seafood is cooked thoroughly is a good habit.
Talk to a Doctor About the Norovirus
If you're experiencing severe norovirus symptoms or persist for more than a few days, seeking medical attention by consulting with a doctor online is advisable. Our healthcare professionals at Mobi Doctor can assess your symptoms, determine if you require further treatment, prescribe medication to alleviate your symptoms or refer you to a specialist for additional treatment or testing.
You can talk to our GPs about your symptoms, get diagnosed, and be given prescriptions as needed to alleviate your symptoms. You can also get referred to specialists for further tests or treatment as needed.