What to Know About Norovirus

Diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain and vomiting – occasionally all at the same time – make norovirus a highly infectious and dreaded affliction facing many right now.

People who have norovirus can shed billions of norovirus particles, and it only takes a few particles to make you sick. You are at risk if you have direct contact with an infected person, eat contaminated food, drink contaminated water or touch contaminated surfaces and then put your unwashed hands in your mouth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, norovirus is the leading cause of vomiting and diarrhea from acute gastroenteritis (inflammation of the stomach and intestines) among people of all ages in the United States. Norovirus is not influenza, but is commonly referred to as a “stomach bug.” Here’s what to know:

  • Outbreaks are common and can happen anytime, but occur most often from November to April.
  • There is no medication that provides immediate relief from symptoms of norovirus.
  • Dehydration is a serious concern because the body is depleted of fluids due to vomiting and diarrhea.
  • In children, crying without the presence of tears and unusual fussiness or lethargy are all symptoms of dehydration.
  • Contact a healthcare provider immediately if severe dehydration occurs.

Non-caffeinated fluids can help ease general dehydration. Sports drinks will also help but may not replace important nutrients and minerals. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Over-the-counter oral rehydration fluids have proven most helpful for mild dehydration.

Speak with your primary care provider, schedule a telehealth appointment or use our urgent care services available at Memorial Care if you experience worsening symptoms or severe dehydration from the norovirus.