Norovirus is the most common cause of infectious gastroenteritis (diarrhoea and vomiting) in England and Wales. The Illness is generally mild and people usually recover fully within 2-3 days. Infections can occur at any age because immunity following previous Norovirus does not last. Historically known as ‘winter vomiting disease’, the disease is more prominent during the winter months, but can occur at any time of year.
Norovirus is highly infectious. Anyone who is feeling unwell with gastrointestinal symptoms, vomiting and or diarrhoea, should not visit hospitals or their GP because of risk of spreading the infection. However, if symptoms persist for more than three or four days, or you already have a serious illness, then phone your GP.
Good hygiene helps limit outbreaks. Wash your hands with soap and water after contact with someone who is ill, and after using the toilet, especially if you have symptoms. Alcohol hand gel does not kill Norovirus.
There is no specific treatment for norovirus apart from letting the illness run its course. It is important to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.