Norovirus

Digestive Problems

Norovirus

Norovirus, also referred to as the ‘winter vomiting bug’ is a stomach virus that causes vomiting and diarrhoea. While it can be very unpleasant, it is common and usually not serious. Symptoms will usually go away in about two days.

Symptoms

You are likely to have norovirus if:

  • Your stool is looser than usual
  • You need to use the toilet more frequently than normal
  • You may also have a stomach ache and feel sick
  • You are being sick (vomiting)
  • You have stomach cramps and or stomach pain
  • You have a high temperature (38C or above)
  • You have aches and chills (especially aching arms and legs)
  • You have a headache
  • You lack energy and feel weak
  • You have a loss of appetite

When to see an expert at Ahmeys

In most cases, norovirus clears up after a few days and can be treated at home. However, diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to dehydration which can be dangerous, especially in babies and young children. Symptoms of dehydration in children and adults include:

  • Your stool is looser than usual
  • You need to use the toilet more frequently than normal
  • You may also have a stomach ache and feel sick
  • You are being sick (vomiting)
  • You have stomach cramps and or stomach pain
  • You have a high temperature (38C or above)
  • You have aches and chills (especially aching arms and legs)
  • You have a headache
  • You lack energy and feel weak
  • You have a loss of appetite

Call to make an urgent appointment with Ahmeys if:

  • You or your child has had diarrhoea for more than seven days
  • You are worried about a baby under 12 months
  • Your child stops breast or bottle feeding
  • Your child under five years has signs of dehydration (fewer wet nappies, seem drowsy, breathe fast, have few or no tears when they cry, have a sunken fontanelle (soft spot on their head that sinks inwards), have a dry mouth, dark-yellow or strong-smelling urine or cold and blotchy-looking feet and hands)
  • You or your child (over five years) still have signs of dehydration after using oral rehydration sachets
  • You or your child cannot keep fluid down
  • You or your child have bloody diarrhoea or rectal bleeding
  • You are experiencing weight loss
  • Have a moderate or continuous stomach ache
  • Your stool is dark or black (this could indicate bleeding in the stomach)

 

Check with Ahmeys before going in. It may be possible to speak to an expert over the phone to avoid spreading the virus.

When to seek an emergency care?

  • If you have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache (pain so bad that it is hard to think, talk, sleep or move)
  • If you have also been vomiting for more than two days. Especially if you are vomiting blood or vomit that looks like ground coffee, or is bright green or yellow
  • If you might have swallowed something poisonous
  • If you are also experiencing other symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) such as: swelling of the throat and tongue, facial swelling, additional skin reactions, including itching, hives and pale or flushed skin, difficulty breathing, a weak, rapid pulse, dizziness, fainting or loss of consciousness
  • If you have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights

Causes

Norovirus is highly contagious and is spread by both infected humans and animals. You may contract norovirus through:

  • Being in close contact with someone who already has the norovirus infection
  • Eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water
  • Touching your hand to your mouth after your hand has been in contact with a contaminated object or surface

Diagnosis

If you are able to recognise from the list of symptoms that you have norovirus, you can usually treat it at home with rest, making sure you drink enough fluids, and eating solid foods as soon as you are able. If you are concerned that your symptoms are severe or have lasted for a long time, call Ahmeys to book an appointment with one of our experts to discuss your symptoms and potential treatments. An expert at Ahmeys will review your symptoms either in person, or over the phone to assess how to treat you. It is likely that one of our experts may speak to you over the phone, as norovirus is highly contagious and it is best to stay at home for at least two days to avoid contamination.

Treatment

Once one of our experts has assessed you, they will discuss treatment options with you. Treatments may include:

  • An oral rehydration solution if you or your child are particularly at risk of dehydration
  • Potentially prescribe antibiotics if your diarrhoea has been confirmed to have a bacterial cause
  • Send off a stool sample for analysis
  • Hospital referral for IV rehydration in cases of extreme dehydration
  • Hospital referral for extreme and potential life-threatening symptoms

How to manage your symptoms?

  • Norovirus can spread easily. If possible, stay off work and keep your child off school until you have not had diarrhoea or vomited for at least two days
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration – small, frequent sips of water
  • Eat solid food as soon as you feel able to
  • If you are breast or bottle feeding your baby and they have diarrhoea or are vomiting, try to feed them as normal
  • Remember to wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap, especially after using the toilet and before eating and preparing food
  • If travelling abroad, practice good food and water hygiene and avoid undercooked food or any food or drink that has been prepared or contains unsafe tap water
  • If you are in discomfort, take paracetamol – check the leaflet before giving it to your child
  • Do not have or give your child fruit juice or fizzy drinks as they can make diarrhoea worse
  • Do not give children under the age of 12 medicine to stop diarrhoea
  • Do not give aspirin to children under the age of 16

How to avoid spreading an infection?

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water
  • Wash any clothing or bedding with faecal matter or vomit on in a separate, hot wash
  • Clean toilet seats, taps, surfaces and flush handles every day
  • If possible, do not prepare food for other people
  • Do not share flannels, cutlery, drinks, food, towels or utensils with other people
  • Wait for two weeks after the symptoms have stopped to use the swimming pool

CONTACT US

    Private Healthcare & Skin Clinic In Oxford

    We have gathered an elite team of experienced medical practitioners that oxford has to offer for all your skin and health care needs.

    ADDRESS

    150 A Oxford Road
    Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2EA

    [email protected]
    01865 689 149

    Book Consultation