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Norovirus Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Norovirus is the primary source of gastroenteritis (the tummy flu) in the United States. It is an extremely infectious infection that creates swelling in the stomach and intestines.



Norovirus is the primary source of gastroenteritis (the tummy flu) in the United States. It is an extremely infectious infection that creates swelling in the stomach and intestines. This results in signs like stomach cramping, vomiting, and also watery looseness of the bowels. Treatment of norovirus typically just includes drinking great deals of liquids to avoid dehydration, though hospitalization for aggressive intravenous (through the vein) fluid replacement is called for in extreme situations.

Norovirus Symptoms

Symptoms of norovirus generally begin about 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus particles (which are not visible to the naked eye). The symptoms can last anywhere from 12 to 60 hrs and consist of one or more of the following:

  • Cramping/stomach pain
  • Watery diarrhea (more common in adults)
  • Vomiting (more common in children)
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches

The most common problem of norovirus is dehydration. If you are incapable to maintain also percentages of fluid down or have had very severe diarrhea (or both), you might be dried out.1.

Norovirus Symptoms of dehydration may include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Increased thirst
  • A decrease in urination and/or increased urine concentration (dark yellow color)
  • Headache
  • Fast heart rate
  • Weakness or unusual fatigue
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded when standing up

Additional signs of dehydration in infants and young children include:

  • Crying with few or no tears
  • Unusual sleepiness or fussiness

Extreme dehydration may need medical treatment such as IV liquids or drugs to help stop the throwing up. If you believe you might be dehydrated as a result of throwing up or diarrhea, it is essential to seek medical interest as soon as possible.

Norovirus Causes

Norovirus is thought about a foodborne ailment since the infection can quickly contaminate food as well as water sources. Actually, the majority of norovirus outbreaks happen in restaurants where an infected preparer or server manages food or serving products with their bare hands.


Raw fruits and vegetables or undercooked foods may likewise become infected with the norovirus. Another potential source is shellfish from water that is polluted with the norovirus.

Finally, sharing food or eating utensils with somebody who is infected with the norovirus might spread the infection, as can touching objects that contain norovirus particles and afterwards touching your mouth, nose, and/or eyes.

Like the flu and also numerous other viral infections, individuals usually do not create resistance to norovirus and can become contaminated more than as soon as.

How Contagious Is Norovirus?

Norovirus is very infectious. It can be so also prior to a person begins showing signs as well as for as long as two weeks after they start to feel better. That claimed, norovirus is most contagious while a person is sick as well as throughout the first 3 days after signs go away.


Norovirus  Risk Factors

Norovirus upsets 21 million people a year as well as leads to about 800 deaths. Anyone can get it, however some individuals are at higher risk than others.

It is typically responsible for outbreaks in congested setups, so those that constant areas such as the following go to boosted risk:

  • Hospitals
  • Nursing homes
  • Daycare centers
  • Schools
  • Military training centers
  • Resorts
  • Cruise ships

Those at greatest risk are babies, young children, and older grownups. These groups have body immune systems that aren’t as solid as those of older kids or grownups that are otherwise healthy, making it more difficult to recover from norovirus symptoms.3.

Besides this, people with a weak body immune system who are infected with the norovirus– like those who have undertaken a body organ transplant or those with leukemia or HIV infection– are more probable to experience a much more extreme or extended case.

Norovirus Diagnosis

The diagnosis of norovirus is normally made with a medical history and also physical examination.


Medical History

During a medical history, your medical professional will certainly inquire about your details symptoms, especially when it come to those related to dehydration.

Your physician might likewise ask about the specifics of your diarrhea, like whether it is watery versus bloody, or whether you have actually experienced a high fever. Response to these questions can assist sway your physician away or toward a medical diagnosis of norovirus.

Physical Exam

Throughout the physical examination, your physician will evaluate your abdomen, listen to digestive tract sounds with a stethoscope, percuss (tap on) your abdomen, as well as lastly, press delicately on various locations of your abdomen to feel for masses, bigger organs, or tenderness.

The abdominal part of the physical exam is essential for dismissing more major root causes of stomach pain such as:


  • Appendicitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Pancreatitis
  • Bowel obstruction

In addition to assessing your abdominal area, your medical professional will likewise make note of your vitals and look for indicators of dehydration, like a dry mouth or poor skin turgor.

Laboratory Test

Less generally, a test called the real-time reverse transcription-polymerase domino effect (RT-qPCR) examination might be used to identify norovirus. This assay finds the hereditary material (RNA) of the infection as well as can be carried out on feces, vomitus, food, water, and environmental samplings.

The RT-aPCR examination is not commonly done as a result of the brief training course of the infection. It might be made use of if there is a huge public outbreak or if an individual has a weakened body immune system (e.g., as a result of leukemia or organ transplant).


The vital treatment for the norovirus is to consume great deals of fluids. While sports drinks may be all that is required to rehydrate in adults and older kids, dental rehydration options, like Pedialyte or Ceralyte, are better for replacing vital nutrients and also minerals shed through throwing up and/or looseness of the bowels.

Periodically, a norovirus infection will certainly be bad sufficient to need medical therapy. Although there is no drug that can eliminate or treat the infection, there are medications, like Zofran (ondansetron), that can aid stop or minimize vomiting to ensure that you do not obtain dried out.


Some individuals may need intravenous fluid substitute in a health center if they are revealing indications of dehydration and can not tolerate dental fluids.

Besides severe dehydration and/or an inability to maintain fluids down, other indications for a hospital stay might consist of:

  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Intractable vomiting
  • Prolonged symptoms (close to or more than one week)
  • Pregnancy
  • Older adults or infants
  • Individuals with a weakened immune system


While it is not always possible to stay clear of foodborne health problems like norovirus, as it takes so little of the virus to make somebody unwell, these 3 steps will substantially help in reducing your day-to-day danger.

  • Wash your hands frequently and correctly: It is important to wash your hands with soap and water frequently throughout the day, especially after using the bathroom or before preparing food. Making a trip to the sink is ideal, as hand sanitizer cannot kill certain bugs, including norovirus. Make sure you wash thoroughly for at least 20 seconds—the time it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
  • Avoid touching your mouth: Even with frequent and good handwashing, you may inadvertently touch a contaminated surface. By avoiding touching your mouth, you can prevent the transmission of tiny infectious particles into your body.
  • Routinely sanitize and clean: It’s important to routinely sanitize your home and workspace, especially kitchens (including utensils and counters). Make sure you clean with a product that contains bleach or make your own bleach-based cleaner. Using products that don’t contain bleach won’t do any good, as they won’t kill the virus.

When Close Contacts Have Norovirus

If you stay in the exact same home with someone who has norovirus (or you believe they do), as well as you do not yet have it, there are extra actions you can require to shield on your own.

  • When possible, stay away: It may not always be practical, but staying away from the person who is sick as much as possible will help protect you from getting sick too. Sleep in a different room, use a different bathroom, and keep as much distance as possible.
  • Wear gloves: If you are caring for someone with norovirus, it’s unlikely they will be up to cleaning. You may be the one doing this chore most often, which can put you in direct contact with the virus. The best thing you can do is wear gloves. When doing so, make sure you don’t touch your nose, eyes, or mouth, and wash your hands as soon as you’re done cleaning up.
  • Make sure laundry gets done: Wash clothes, bed linens, towels, and anything else that the sick person touches. Use hot water and dry items in the dryer using high heat to ensure they are as clean as possible. If laundry is soiled, handle it with rubber gloves and wash your hands after placing items in the washer.
  • Don’t share: Sharing items that your sick spouse, child, or roommate has used is a sure way to get sick yourself. Even sharing the remote control for the TV could be bad news.
  • Don’t let them prepare food: If someone is sick with norovirus, don’t let them prepare food for you or anyone else, if possible. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the individual not prepare food for at least two days after symptoms stop.
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