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

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.

Information: Read about how to treat diarrhoea and vomiting in children and adults.

Stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days.

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: 1) close contact with someone with norovirus 2) touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them, then touching your mouth 3) eating food that’s 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.

Diarrhoea and vomiting are common in adults, children and babies. They’re often caused by a stomach bug and should stop in a few days. The advice is the same if you have diarrhoea and vomiting together or separately.

How to treat diarrhoea and vomiting

Dos

  • stay at home and get plenty of rest
    – drink lots of fluids, such as water or squash – take small sips if you feel sick
  • carry on breast or bottle feeding your baby – if they’re being sick, try giving small feeds more often than usual
  • give babies on formula or solid foods small sips of water between feeds
  • eat when you feel able to – you don’t need to eat or avoid any specific foods
  • take paracetamol if you’re in discomfort – check the leaflet before giving it to your child.

Don'ts

  • do not have fruit juice or fizzy drinks – they can make diarrhoea worse
  • do not make baby formula weaker – use it at its usual strength
  • do not give children under 12 medicine to stop diarrhoea
  • do not give aspirin to children under 16

In adults and children:
– diarrhoea usually stops within 5 to 7 days
– vomiting usually stops in 1 or 2 days.

A Pharmacist can help if...

  • you or your child (over 5 years) have signs of dehydration – such as dark, smelly pee or peeing less than usual
  • you need to stop diarrhoea for a few hours

They may recommend:

  • oral rehydration sachets you mix with water to make a drink
  • medicine to stop diarrhoea for a few hours (like loperamide) – not suitable for children under 12

Get advice from 111 now if...

  • you’re worried about a baby under 12 months
  • your child stops breast or bottle feeding while they’re ill
  • you or your child (over 5 years) still have signs of dehydration after using oral rehydration sachets
  • you or your child keep being sick and cannot keep fluid down
  • you or your child have bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from the bottom
  • you or your child have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 2 days

Go to 111.nhs.uk or call 111.