Norovirus: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Norovirus, also known as winter vomiting disease is one of the most common stomach illness or disease in the UK, affecting people of all ages.

Norovirus is a type of virus that affects the stomach and intestine. It is the most common cause of gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the intestine. The infection is accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea and can be very contagious. It spreads through direct and indirect contact with an infected person as well as food poisoning. Unlike herpes, Norovirus is not an STD and hence cannot be transmitted through sexual intercourse or oral sex but can be dangerous if one has just vomited.

According to HealthState; Noroviruses are members of a group of viruses called caliciviruses, known previously as “Norwalk-like viruses.” Furthermore, the infection is often mistakenly referred to as the “stomach flu”.

According to CDC norovirus is the cause of 21 million illnesses in the United States yearly.
The virus is not life-threatening nor deadly among normal aged individuals. However, the aged and infants can have severe problems of dehydration which may lead to death.
The main symptoms of norovirus are vomiting and diarrhea, though many with the infection may show no symptoms, it is still contagious and can be spread to families, neighbors or others close to you. These symptoms may start within 12-48 when exposed to the infection and can last for days, mostly three (3) days.

Symptoms of Norovirus

  • Muscle cramps ( a sudden and involuntary contraction of one or more of your muscles. It can be very painful at sometimes)
  • Headache
  • Decrease in urine output
  • Chills
  • Nausea (a feeling of one wanting to vomit)
  • Malaise (a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or unease whose exact cause is difficult to identify)
  • Vomiting
  • Fatigue (extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion)
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea (a condition in which feces are discharged from the bowels frequently and in a liquid form)
  • Abdominal pain (it’s a stomach discomfort that is felt on the part of the trunk below the ribs and above the pelvis and may be caused by inflammation)

Causes of Norovirus

As stated earlier, norovirus is very contagious and can be contracted by coming in contact with infected persons. It is caused by a virus, and one can get infected by:

  • Not washing one’s hand thoroughly with soap and water after touching an infected object.
  • Being in close contact with a person who has the norovirus can make you contract the virus.
  • Eating contaminated food and drinking contaminated water can also contribute to one getting infected.
  • Open defecating among African countries in rural areas may lead to contracting the infection.

Safety measures/ Preventions

  • Avoid eating uncooked foods especially Seafood.
  • Don’t share eating utensils with infected persons. (E.g. Plates, cups, and spoons etc)
  • Wash your hands thoroughly after taking care of an infected person or take habit in using gloves when taking care of an infected person. NB: even with that, you should wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid spending long hours in the hospital if you have nothing important doing there.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables well if you are to consume them raw.


Norovirus infections has no effective treatment, hence these tips may be useful to infected patients;
  • Infected persons should have enough sleep to avoid being stressed. This also helps to reduce tiredness and fatigue.
  • Infected persons should also drink lots of fluid and always try to stay hydrated.
  • Persons with the virus should avoid drinks that contain much sugar since sugar is not so good for persons with diarrhea.
This simple article about Norovirus is clear enough to educate you about the infection; however, you should visit your health care center;

  • If the infection lasts over 3 days
  • If stools contain blood
  • Or if you feel worse each day.

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