What Is The Treatment For Norovirus?


Do you know that there are many kinds of viruses that can affect humans? The fact that there are many of the viruses makes a lot of scientists or researchers to get answers on the many viruses that are potentially to cause sickness in humans. If you ask a doctor, you will know that viruses are one of the common causes for flu-like symptoms. In this article, we will learn more on norovirus which you may not be familiar with as much as COVID-19.

Norovirus is often associated with food poisoning or called a ‘stomach bug’/ ‘stomach flu’. These viruses are known to be highly contagious as a person with norovirus illness can easily shed billions of norovirus particles and there are many different types of noroviruses. Being infected by one of the types would not give immunity towards the other types although the person has developed some form of immunity against a certain type. Hence, a person of all ages may get infected with norovirus at any point of life and it is common to get it more than once throughout their life.

It’s easy for a virus to spread from one person to another. This could be from a person’s close contact with another person already infected by norovirus, touching surfaces that have the virus on it and then touching the mouth or eating food that has been prepared by those already infected with norovirus.

Symptoms of norovirus at a glance seem like any other infection causing stomach issues or inflammation of the stomach or the intestines. Main symptoms are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhoea. It can be accompanied with fever, headache and body aches.  After exposure to the Norovirus, symptoms generally develop in between 12 and 48 hours. These symptoms should improve in 1 to 3 days.

For the treatment of norovirus, there are no special medicines. A person with norovirus infection should make sure to stay off from work or school for at least 48 hours after the symptoms have subsided.  In order to prevent dehydration, you should consume a lot of fluids. Unsweetened fruit juice or soup can be another form of fluids if drinking water sounds a bit boring to have it all the time. Most cases of norovirus should be able to resolve on its own with plenty of rest and keeping hydration level at all-time high. Taking paracetamol to ease the fever or aches is advisable. Never decide to use antibiotics without prescription to treat this condition as it is proven not effective against virus.

A person should seek immediate medical advice if the person with norovirus infection develop signs of severe dehydration such as passing only little to no urine or losing consciousness, having trouble to keep the fluid down, a bloody diarrhoea, symptoms that does not show any sign of improvement even after days or a person with other serious underlying medical concerns such as kidney disease that is prone to get worse when episode of diarrhoea and vomiting persists. These situations should ring an alarm and solely treating at home would not be helpful.

Since norovirus illness is easily spread and highly contagious, taking preventive measures could do wonders and help a person from catching the stomach flu or from further spreading the virus. Practising basic hygiene such as washing hands frequently after using the toilet, before eating and preparing food can help minimise risk for norovirus infections. Washing hands with warm water and soap is the best way to make sure the hand is clean because using alcohol-based hand gels or hand sanitizers alone does not necessarily kill this norovirus. It is important to clean and disinfect possible contaminated surfaces with a bleach-based household cleaner. Remember to wash clothing or bedding possibly contaminated with the virus by using hot water and drying it with the highest heat setting or temperature.

In essence, norovirus is a virus that causes stomach flu.  It’s easy for norovirus to spread from one person to the next. Good hygiene practices are the best way to avoid norovirus. Treatment for norovirus is not specific as there is no medication specifically targeted to kill the virus. Rather than killing it, the human body itself will eliminate the virus via the immune system response. This is why a person with norovirus usually get better within 1 to 2 days even without treatment. Patients with norovirus should always ensure they are well hydrated and keep on practising good hygiene. However, the condition can be serious in certain groups of people such as the elderly, young children and those with compromised immune systems. Those who are immunocompromised are often those who are undergoing cancer treatment, those on immunosuppressant or with autoimmune disease. Despite the fact that the condition can get better on its own, norovirus that affects these groups of people need to get checked by doctors even if the symptoms seem mild. This is because when it is left untreated, it can be life-threatening.