Norovirus (vomiting bug)

Norovirus, also called the "winter vomiting bug", is a stomach bug that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. It can be very unpleasant, but usually goes away in about 2 days.

Check if you have norovirus

The main symptoms of norovirus are:

  • feeling sick (nausea)
  • diarrhoea
  • being sick (vomiting)

You may also have:

  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • a headache
  • aching arms and legs

The symptoms start suddenly within 1 to 2 days of being infected.

How to treat norovirus yourself

You can usually treat yourself or your child at home.

You should start to feel better in a day or two.

Stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days. Also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.

This is when you're most infectious.

How norovirus is spread

Norovirus can spread very easily.

You can catch norovirus from:

  • close contact with someone with norovirus
  • touching surfaces or objects that have been touched by someone with norovirus
  • eating food that has been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus

Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the best way to stop it spreading. Alcohol hand gels don't kill norovirus.

Page last reviewed: 23/04/2018
Next review due: 23/04/2021

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