5 Common Symptoms of Norovirus Infections

May 7th 2016

Although antiviral drugs do not work on a norovirus infection, for most moderately healthy people, a norovirus typically goes away on its own one to three days after symptoms start. Patients should pay particular attention to a norovirus infection in small children, older people, those with underlying health conditions and people already in the hospital with another condition. Talk to your doctor about possible ways to alleviate symptoms of a norovirus and to discuss what to do if symptoms get worse.

Nausea

Nausea represents one of the most common symptoms of a norovirus infection. The feeling that you may throw up could get worse or better, depending on how severe the infection has become. Mild infections might be treatable at home with plenty of fluids that include electrolytes and sugar in order to stay hydrated.

Vomiting

You may vomit uncontrollably several times per day after you contract a norovirus. Patients normally see symptoms 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the contamination. It is important to try to get vomiting under control as soon as possible in order to prevent dehydration. You must try to replace the amount of fluids lost due to vomiting. If your vomiting does not improve, you should seek medical treatment.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea and watery stools also represent one of the most common symptoms of a norovirus infection. This leads to even more water loss, because the lining of the large intestine may also be inflamed and swollen due to the infection. A viral infection does not cause bloody stool, so if you only suffer from a norovirus, your stool should only be watery.

Vomiting, combined with diarrhea, could lead to symptoms of dehydration, including lack of urination, dry mouth and dizziness. If you experience dehydration, see a doctor to receive intravenous fluids.

Stomach Pain

A norovirus causes stomach pain due to inflamed tissues within the stomach lining. Stomach pain may also come from many bouts of vomiting. Inflammation, pain and vomiting could make it difficult for the body to keep down fluids, over-the-counter medications and pills. If you cannot keep any fluids down for long periods of time, consult a medical professional.

Fever

You may develop a low-grade fever as part of the body's natural immune response to try to kill a norovirus by raising internal temperature. If you try to medicate yourself to lower a fever, you may vomit up the medicine. As many as one-third to one-half of all norovirus infections lead to a low-grade fever.

Conclusion

Humans commonly contract a norovirus through ingestion of contaminated food or water. This type of infection is also known as food poisoning or the stomach flu, even though these names do not accurately describe what happens when a norovirus infects the human body. A norovirus causes inflammation in the stomach, a condition called acute gastroenteritis.

Sources

CDC.gov "Symptoms" http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/symptoms.html
MedicineNet.com "Norovirus infection" http://www.medicinenet.com/norovirus_infection/article.htm
WebMD.com "Norovirus: symptoms and treatment" http://www.webmd.com/children/norovirus-symptoms-and-treatment
MayoClinic.com "Norovirus infection symptoms" http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/norovirus/basics/symptoms/con-20029968
State.MN.us "Causes and symptoms of norovirus infection" http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/norovirus/basics.html

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