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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.

The main symptoms of norovirus are:

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

You may also have:

  • a high temperature
  • 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.

The most important thing is to rest and have lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.

You will usually start to feel better in 2 to 3 days.

Find out how to treat diarrhoea and vomiting in children and adults

School, nursery or work

Stay off school or work until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least 2 days. This is when you're most infectious.

Do not visit hospitals or care homes during this time.

Norovirus can spread very easily.

You can catch norovirus from:

  • close contact with someone with norovirus
  • touching surfaces or objects that have the virus on them, then touching your mouth
  • 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 do not kill norovirus.