Norovirus is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis (stomach bugs)
The most common symptoms are sudden onset of nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea – not all of those infected will have all of these symptoms. Some people may also have a high temperature, headache and aching limbs.
Symptoms usually start around 12 to 48 hours after becoming infected and the symptoms will last for 12 to 60 hours. Most people make a full recovery within 1-2 days, however some people (usually the very young or elderly) may become dehydrated and require hospital treatment.
Norovirus can spread quickly in hospitals and is very easily spread from person to person. It can be spread by contact with an infected person, contaminated food, contaminated surfaces and poor hand hygiene.
It is not possible to completely prevent the spread of Norovirus and outbreaks can be difficult to control. However hand washing with soap and water after using the toilet and before preparing or eating food is an important way to reduce the risk of spreading Norovirus.
There are no specific treatments available apart from letting the illness run its course. If you have symptoms of diarrhoea and/or vomiting stay at home and drink plenty of fluids.
Visiting may be restricted if there is an outbreak of Norovirus on a hospital ward. If permission is given to visit then visitors must wash their hands with soap and water when entering and or leaving the ward and must not eat or drink whilst on the ward. Visitors who have diarrhoea and/or vomiting should not visit until 48 hours after the symptoms have stopped.
Contaminated laundry must be ashed separately from other items and at the highest temperature that the material will allow. Hands should be washed with soap and water after placing items in the washing machine.