Overview

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:

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 should start to feel better in a day or two.

Stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days. this is when you're most infectious.

Also avoid visiting anyone in hospital during this time.

How norovirus is spread

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 don't kill norovirus.

Get advice from NHS 111 wales now if:

  • you're worried about a baby under 12 months
  • your child stops breast or bottle feeding while they're ill
  • a child under 5 years has signs of dehydration – such as fewer wet nappies
  • 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

Call 999 or go to A&E if you or your child:

  • vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
  • have green or yellow-green vomit
  • might have swallowed something poisonous
  • have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
  • have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache


The information on this page has been adapted by NHS Wales from original content supplied by NHS UK NHS website nhs.uk
Last Updated: 16/03/2022 15:21:46