Norovirus - Treatment 

Treating norovirus 

Norovirus is the most common cause of stomach bugs in the UK 

Looking after a sick child

It's important to listen to your child if they're ill. For example, they may be more comfortable on the sofa with a blanket or duvet than in bed.

Make sure that:

  • the room is airy but not draughty – if it's too warm, they'll probably feel worse
  • you give them plenty to drink – they may not want anything to eat for the first day or so
  • they get plenty of rest – encourage them to doze off when they need to

Read more about looking after a sick child.

There's no specific treatment for norovirus.

You don't need to see your GP because your body should fight off the infection within a couple of days.

It's very important that you drink plenty of fluid. If necessary, you can take paracetamol to treat fever, aches and pains.

Eat foods that are easy to digest, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread. Babies should continue with their normal feeds.

To reduce the risk of passing the virus on to others, wash your hands regularly and stay at home until you've been clear of symptoms for 48 hours.

Avoid dehydration

Drinking plenty of fluids is particularly important for young children and the elderly because they're more vulnerable to dehydration. They'll need urgent medical treatment if they start to show signs of dehydration, such as a headache, dizziness or lightheadedness.

If you have norovirus, you'll need to drink more than your usual daily amount to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea.

Suitable drinks include water, squash and fruit juice. If you're finding it difficult to keep fluids down, try taking small frequent sips to keep yourself hydrated.

Infants and small children should take frequent sips of water, even if they vomit. A small amount of fluid is better than none. Avoid giving fruit juice and carbonated drinks to children under five years of age because these can make diarrhoea worse.

Read more about diarrhoea and vomiting in children.

Rehydration drinks

If you're worried that you're becoming dehydrated, your GP or pharmacist may advise you to take rehydration drinks.

You can buy sachets of rehydration powders from your pharmacy which you add to water (follow the instructions on the packet). Rehydration drinks provide the correct balance of water, salt and sugar for your body.

Not all rehydration drinks are suitable for children. Check which ones are suitable with your GP or pharmacist.

You should also seek immediate medical help if your symptoms continue for more than three days or if you feel severely dehydrated at any time.

Read more about treating dehydration.

Advice for parents

If your child has norovirus, keep them away from school or nursery for at least 48 hours after their last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting. 

Children should not swim in a swimming pool for two weeks after the last episode of diarrhoea.

Read more about preventing norovirus.

Page last reviewed: 20/01/2014

Next review due: 20/01/2016


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The 27 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

kerryx27x said on 10 November 2014

This is the worst thing I have ever had it is just as bad as food poison . unfortunatly this virus is airborne and no matter what precautions I used at work will not stop you from getting it. For me the cramps are so bad and its hard to settle as the sickness took hours to calm. I still feel same after 16hours. I would really try to snack on light foods and sip water coz you start to get pains from not eating also. Eventually even if it's hours later you will be to keep fluids down. I think water is the best as some drinks aggravate the stomach

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Gomemojo said on 09 November 2014

If you never get this count yourself very lucky - it is not vey nice at all!!
Had for 3 days now and still feel awful, even small sips of any fluid makes me vomit. Do not even try to eat food if you get this!!
Highly recommend just sleeping in the bath, so much easier than trying to rush to the bathroom, when you can hardly move.

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User874469 said on 11 August 2014

I have had this more times than I can recall. My trick is to take imodium or loperamide immediately. It is safe. It stops the diarrhoea immediately then the faintness and vomiting do not seem to be so severe. Ice lollies and read-salted crisps are good to put back the salts you lose.

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alan7669 said on 12 December 2013

Awful would be an understatement!
Epic trot's followed by sickness, de-hydration imminent the minute you are sat on the toilet.
Sips of water to start, followed by some over the counter re-hydration powders.
Loads of sleep, and no food for 48hours.
Tomorrow will tell when I attempt the dry toast!
I sympathise with anybody contracting this awful illness

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VioletOblivia said on 07 December 2013

Evidently, this is going around again now (7th December). I'd been feeling fine all day yesterday after a bout of Labyrinthitis and last night I suddenly got very ill. Going hot and cold, dizziness, diarrhea and loss of appetite. I wasn't sick though I had a few false alarms. I had it a couple of years ago as well. I fought the bug off quickly but it took weeks for me to get back to normal and I'm hoping it won't be like that again or Xmas will be rubbish.

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RugbyBiker said on 18 October 2013

I was sick with this all through Wednesday night/Thursday Morning, I've been able to eat as of this morning (Friday) without being sick. But it has left me with a terrible headache and I'm a bit dizzy!
Hopefully this will go away soon!

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WorcsGirl said on 10 July 2013

I have had this 3 times now. For me the worst symptom is the diarrhoea. It is literally water. After the vomiting has subsided you are left with this and you can almost feel yourself dehydrating with every miserable trip to the loo (which is frequent).
I am on day 2 at the moment, still can't eat and the rear end is as I describe above. Hideous.

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csmel said on 05 June 2013

this is the worst ever illness. got it for 5 days now, had no food since, well was too hungry so had one rich tea bisquit, that came back like i had 4 packet... cant find a comfortable place, cant sleep, all dizzy, feel really ill... really... if my son catches it, i dont know what im going to do.

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carajade said on 16 May 2013

Had this horrible virus about 4 times now over the past year and though nothing really works to stop the vomiting/diarrhoea I have found that a hot water bottle (as hot as you can stand to have it without burning your stomach) highly reduces the pains from the stomach cramps which for me were the worst part. Hope this helps

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fb29 said on 02 May 2013

Wow just getting over the worst of this terrible virus. After not being able to eat for almost 3 days I'm feeling very lethargic and am finding I'm short of breath easy. I think this is probably due to low energy but I may ring my doctor if it doesn't clear up in the next few days. Don't underestimate this virus. From diarrhea, sweats, shakes, vomiting, headaches and cramps so bad I thought I was about to give birth! Woke up this morning feeling about 50 percent better than yesterday, the end, I hope, is nigh!

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Annthewhofan said on 11 March 2013

I just had it on Friday night to sat mourning. But I drink lots of water and the water does tast so good. Never had a sickness like it just not started eating properly yet still have the diarrhoea not as much now.

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stickerguy said on 26 February 2013

My seven year old son has been vomiting with Diarrhoea for six days and nights. He was already underweight before this illness and so this is very worrying. I have taken him to our GP who examined him and advised just sips of water and to closely monitor him. Last night he was so bad my wife and I took him to hospital and the hospital doctors advice was much the treatment and send home to continue being sick!
How do I know if this is Novovirus, E.Coli or Salmonella there no treatment?? this is ridiculous!!

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EmilyMacD said on 26 January 2013

My 19 month old daughter was diagnosed with norovirus yesterday. She was sick in the night on Wednesday night, three times, then in the morning she had diarrhea. She slept on and off all day the next day and ate a little bit of toast and drank water. It is now Saturday (day 4) and she is still vomiting and has diarrhea. This is awful! She is a terrible colour, very pale and dark under the eyes, and her hands and feet are a funny grey/blue colour and she has no energy. She's been laying on the lounge most of the time and whinging a lot. Yesterday I bought the electrodes(?) sachets as I was concerned about her becoming dehydrated, although the doctor said she wasn't showing any signs of it. She goes in and out of phases of feeling hungry and asking for food and drink, and then at other times I've had to give her water from a teaspoon or a calpol syringe just so she would take it. Poor thing, hopefully it doesn't last too much longer.

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momto7 said on 21 January 2013

My 11 year old is on day 8 of this virus. Constant vomiting and diarrhea. The doctor said he may have another 7 days. It's absolutely horrible! We are keeping him hydrated which is all the local hospital says you can do for this virus.

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Lish93 said on 07 January 2013

Im 19 years old and I am currently ill with the virus. I started feeling ill on 3rd of january but thought nothing of it. Then the diarrhoea kicked in on the 5th and the vomiting on the 6th. Never experienced so much pain but its all hit me hard today n I had a temperature, massive stomach cramps and I was on the toilet while throwing up in the sink I thought I was going to pass out. I called the doctor n he explained that I would just have to ride it out and not eat anything for 48 hours to kill the bug n let your body clean out. I haven't eaten anything for 24 hours and it is making me feel better from when I do eat something. Im drinking water although I would like to drink juice or anything else but it just makes me throw up so now im just Purley draining the illness out my body.

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olgit said on 29 December 2012

This virus dehydrated me so much that I got severe cramp in all parts of my body. Absolute agony. I had to go in to hospital for pain relief. And spent two days hooked up to a saline drip.
I was on a low salt diet. I'm now increasing my salt intake while this nasty virus is going around.

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flower01 said on 28 December 2012

I started feeling ill on Boxing night. I suddenly felt the blood drain from my face, went all cold and sweaty then vomited. Felt ok for the next hour and a half so I though Id just eaten too much at lunch time. Then it all started again and by the third time the diarrhea started as well. This continued through the night sometimes both ends at the same time which was terrible! The vomiting stopped after 12 hours but the diarrhea continued for another 12 hours but very mild compared to the start. I got up for two hours yesterday afternoon but had to come back to bed as I just wanted to lie down and sleep. I've been drinking water and diet coke [to get the nasty taste out of my mouth more than anything] I've managed a shower, change the bed clothes, two hours on the sofa but I'm now back in bed again totally shattered and stomach still churning. I've eaten a few digestive biscuits and some grapes as that's all I fancied and I'm now drinking Lucozade. I've lost 6lbs already. This is the nastiest virus I've ever had!! I'll keep drinking as I had a dizzy spell in the shower earlier so was probably a bit dehydrated. I'll just let it run it's course and eat when I'm hungry again.

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elastic said on 24 December 2012

Is it normal to still feel so ill? No actual D&V for the last 5 days, but I still have stomach pains and constant nausea. I am sweating buckets, am weak as a kitten and not sleeping well! Merry Christmas!

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robbiesgirl said on 06 December 2012

I am just getting over this - lost half a stone, every cloud - and found that FLAT full calorie coca cola - stir it with a spoon to get the co2 out - settled my stomach and gave me some energy as well as helping to rehydrate. Hope that this is helpful to those out there suffering.

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pollyperfect said on 09 November 2012

I wasn't sure if I had the norovirus until I read the symptoms on the web site. It started with Nausea and then violent vomiting all night 2 days ago, this morning I had the most severe cramps followed by watery Diarrhoea which went on all day, surely there could be nothing left well there could. I have sent my wonderful husband to the chemist to purchase rehydration drinks and probiotic yogurts. A very nasty bug indeed. Best tip for me was to sip cooled boiled water as it is kinder on the stomach, the aches and pains were eased with paracetamol I now need lots of rest.

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dollparts said on 01 November 2012

Just wanted to say a big thanks to you all for sharing your experiences. Now i know this is what has been experiencing. The tip about sucking ice cubes has really helped as i feel so thirsty but can't keep any liquids down. I woke up at 3am with the cramps and haven't slept since. This is the worst sickness i have ever felt with a virus. I thought flu was bad but this is much worse. Vomiting and diarrhea at the same time is intolerable. My only tip is to keep a bucket in your bathroom the moment you start to experience the cramps. Im so hoping this doesn't drag on more than a few days as finding the lack of sleep, constant sickness and trips to the loo difficult to cope with. And the chemist told my partner (who i sincerely thank for looking after me and pray he doesn't get this) to drink boiled water as it is easier on the stomach than straight tap water. I wish you all who are suffering with this terrible virus a speedy recovery.

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charlieyankie said on 25 August 2012

Plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

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Leikelas said on 16 June 2012

I've had this beast of a virus for 5 days now, two days were horrendous to the point I physically couldn't move off the floor, worst I have ever felt in my life. The next two days were better and I could t least move around and the sickness stopped. Now on day five, the sickness is back along with some unbelievable cramps. Can't quite comprehend just how nasty this bug is

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User686487 said on 15 June 2012

I'm currently suffering from this just now. Been over 24hrs since I first exploded with sickness and diarrhea. Within 30mins my stomach contents were totally emptied, Because I was badly dehydrated I started guzzling water like no tomorrow (Big Mistake.). All that did was make it worse and the water was brought straight back up again or out the other end.
A family member decided to phone the hospital because of how bad of a condition I was in, Couldn't move, Had the shakes, Had the virus for over 10hrs and was very tired, Couldn't sleep a wink because of the aches and pains on my whole body.

They informed me to take small sips of water at a time and just let it run its course. But the best advice in my opinion was the ice lolly, Had 1 and 2 paracetamols and slept like a baby. The ice lolly may not work for everyone but it worked wonders for me, kept me hydrated and I think the chill from the chunks of ice I was swallowing helped calm my stomach pains.
With all that being said, This is the worse I've ever felt while being ill and wouldn't wish this on my enemies.

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carol2802 said on 16 February 2012

I have just recovered from Norivirus. I found it best to drink plenty of water, take paracetamol and snack on white grapes. Also get plenty of rest

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auntlizzie said on 18 January 2011

Also had it twice, last time in Italy, where tablets equiva
alent of metoclopromide and a thing like powdered yakult, plus a rehydration solution(supplied by superb Italian doctor) got me(a senior citizen) on my feet and able to fly home within less than 24 hours- told not to eat for 2 days. Beastly thing, devoutly hope never to have it again!!

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hannele said on 20 May 2010

I have had it twice - French Cedex medicine Meteospasmyl seems to work well, don't know if available here.

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