Authored by Revere Health

Norovirus: The Vomiting Bug

March 1, 2019 | Family Medicine

Norovirus is highly contagious and causes diarrhea and vomiting. It can affect you no matter how old you are and can be spread through contaminated water or food, direct contact with someone who is already infected or putting your hands in your mouth after touching a contaminated surface.

Symptoms of Norovirus

Common symptoms norovirus include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Fever

Norovirus also causes acute gastroenteritis, which is inflammation of the intestines or the stomach. After initial exposure to the virus, most people exhibit symptoms anywhere from 12-48 hours later, and the virus typically lasts 1-3 days.

Although the virus doesn’t cause symptoms for long, it can still make a person severely ill. If you are vomiting and have diarrhea several times a day, for example, you can easily become dehydrated. The risk of dehydration is greater in older adults, young children and those who are already suffering from another illness.

If you have norovirus watch for signs of dehydration, such as dry throat and mouth, dizziness when you stand up and a decrease in urination. Dehydrated children may not have tears when they cry and be uncharacteristically fussy or sleepy. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should seek medical help.


Risk Factors Associated With Norovirus

Some people have an increased risk of contracting the virus. Children who attend a child care center or preschool, those who live in nursing homes or other close quarters and those who are traveling in public spaces are at higher risk. If you eat in a place with unsanitary procedures or have contact with someone who has the virus, you are also likely to get it.


Preventing Norovirus

Because norovirus is a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics and must run its course through the body instead. To prevent the spread of norovirus:

  • Cook seafood thoroughly
  • Wash vegetables and fruits before eating
  • Avoid contaminated water and food
  • Wash your hands thoroughly, particularly after changing a diaper or using the bathroom
  • Dispose of fecal matter and vomit carefully to avoid spreading
  • Stay home from work if you exhibit symptoms of norovirus
  • Wear gloves and use a chlorine bleach solution to disinfect areas that are contaminated

Those with norovirus are most contagious when they have symptoms of the virus and the first few days after recovery. Some studies suggest that norovirus can even be spread up to two weeks after the patient feels better.

If your symptoms are severe, call your doctor. Getting medical attention is especially important if you are extremely dehydrated, as severe dehydration can lead to hospitalization.

Revere Health’s family medical practice in Lehi has been serving families for more than 50 years with care for patients of all ages. We specialize in weight control, depression management, skin care, hormone replacement, cardiac conditions and cholesterol management, and we strive to provide our patients and their families with quality healthcare services.




“Norovirus.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“Norovirus Infection.” Mayo Clinic.

The Live Better Team


The Live Better Team

Telehealth is not appropriate for every medical concern, so it’s important to ask your provider whether a virtual visit is suitable for your needs.

Learn more about Telehealth

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.