Treating norovirus 

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.

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.

Page last reviewed: 20/01/2014

Next review due: 20/01/2016