Norovirus Infection : What are the Risk Factors, Symptoms & Treatment ?


Norovirus infection can produce abrupt starting, severe vomiting and diarrhea. The norovirus is quite infectious. They frequently disperse through contaminated surfaces or food or drink that has been polluted during preparation. Close contact with a norovirus-affected individual has the ability to spread the virus.

Typically, 12 to 48 hours after exposure, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain begin. The normal duration of norovirus symptoms is 1 to 3 days. Most people are able to fully heal without the need for counselling. However, vomiting and diarrhea can be extremely dehydrating for some people and need medical treatment, particularly for small children, older adults, and those with existing medical disorders.

Norovirus infestations are more prevalent than usual in confined, small areas. Hospitals, nursing homes, childcare facilities, schools, and cruise ships are a few examples.


The norovirus is quite infectious. That implies that norovirus illness is easily contagious. Both vomit and stools contain the virus. From the moment you start to experience symptoms of an illness until a few days after you start feeling well, you can transfer the virus. Noroviruses can persist on surfaces and objects for days or weeks.

You can contract the norovirus by:

  • Consuming tainted food
  • Consuming tainted water
  • After coming into touch with a contaminated object or surface, placing your hand on your lips
  • Being in close proximity to someone who is sick with the norovirus
  • Noroviruses are challenging to eradicate since they are resistant to both high and low temperatures as well as several disinfectants.

How to check if you have Norovirus Infection?

If you get diarrhea that does not go away after several days, see a doctor. If you develop severe vomiting, bloody stools, stomach discomfort, or dehydration, you should also contact your healthcare professional.

Risk Factors

The following are risk factors for contracting a norovirus:

  • Consuming food that has been in touch with contaminated water or surfaces, or that has been handled by someone who has the norovirus
  • Attending a preschool or daycare facility
  • Being restricted, as in nursing homes, to a limited area
  • Staying at lodgings like hotels, resorts, cruise ships, or other places where there are a lot of people around
  • Having contact with a norovirus-infected person


The following norovirus symptoms, include what you could experience suddenly:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps or agony
  • Loose or watery diarrhea
  • Being unwell
  • A minor fever
  • Muscle ache

Typically, signs and symptoms appear 12 to 48 hours after your initial norovirus encounter and persist for 1 to 3 days. For a few weeks after recovering, you could still pass the virus in your faeces. If you have a different medical condition, this shedding might last for weeks or even months.

Some people who have norovirus may not show any symptoms at all. They can still infect people and transmit the illness, though.


The norovirus is extremely infectious. Noroviruses come in a variety of varieties. The norovirus can be acquired more than once by anyone.

To avoid contracting the norovirus:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before preparing food, eating, or drinking, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are less effective in killing noroviruses than soap and water.
  • Avoid contaminated food and drink, especially food that may have been prepared by a sick person.
  • Prior to consumption, wash fruits and vegetables.
  • Fully cook the seafood.
  • Surfaces that could be contaminated should be cleaned. Put on gloves and apply a disinfectant that is efficient against noroviruses or a chlorine bleach solution.
  • When traveling, exercise caution. If you are visiting places consider eating only prepared meals, consuming only hot or fizzy beverages, and avoiding food served by street sellers if you have a high risk of contracting norovirus.

When unwell and for two to three days after your symptoms subside, in order to assist prevent the spread of the norovirus infection:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend with others.
  • Use soap and water to thoroughly wash your hands.
  • Go home after work. The absence of kids from daycare or school is advised.
  • Do not handle food or objects intended for other people. Use a disinfectant that is efficient against noroviruses to clean up infected surfaces.
  • Be cautious about how you dispose of excrement and vomit. S
  • Soak up stuff using disposable cloths while wearing disposable gloves. 
  • Handle infected things as little as possible to avoid spreading noroviruses through the air.
  •  Put contaminated goods in plastic. bags and dispose of them there. Remove and clean any potentially contaminated clothing and linens.


The norovirus infection has no particular therapy. In general, your immune system's health determines how quickly you recover. The disease normally goes away in a few days for the majority of patients.

It is crucial to replenish lost fluids. There are oral rehydration options available. You could require receiving fluids through a vein if you can not drink enough to avoid becoming dehydrated (intravenous).

Over-the-counter nausea relievers and anti-diarrheal medications may be suggested by your doctor.

Complications of Norovirus Infection

Most persons who contract norovirus recover quickly and without any negative side effects. For some people, including small children, the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, those who have other medical conditions, and expectant women, a norovirus infection can be quite serious. Norovirus infection can cause severe dehydration and even death.

Dehydration warning indicators include:

  • Fatigue
  • Throat and mouth are dry
  • Listlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Reduced urine production
  • Dehydrated children may cry little or hardly at all. They might act particularly cranky or drowsy.


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Page last reviewed: Mar 20, 2023

Next review due: Mar 20, 2025

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