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Noroviruses (Norwalk Viruses)

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How are infections with noroviruses treated?

You treat gastroenteritis caused by noroviruses by managing complications until it passes. Dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting is the most common complication. Do not use medicines, including antibiotics and other treatments, unless your doctor recommends them.

To prevent dehydration, take frequent sips of a rehydration drink (such as Pedialyte). Try to drink a cup of water or rehydration drink for each large, loose stool you have. Soda and fruit juices have too much sugar and not enough of the important electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea, and they should not be used to rehydrate. In cases of severe dehydration, fluids may need to be replaced through an IV (intravenously).

Try to stay with your normal diet as much as possible. Eating your usual diet will help you to get enough nutrition. Doctors believe that eating a normal diet will also help you feel better faster. But try to avoid foods that are high in fat and sugar. Also avoid spicy foods, alcohol, and coffee for 2 days after all symptoms have disappeared.

If you had diarrhea caused by norovirus, you should stay home for 2 to 3 days after your symptoms end before going back to work or school. This will help prevent spread of the virus.

How can you prevent infection with noroviruses?

You can help prevent infection by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands often, especially after using the bathroom and before handling food.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables and steam oysters before eating them.
  • If you suspect that your drinking water is contaminated, boil water for 1 minute (3 minutes at elevations above 6,500 feet). Then cool and refrigerate it. Water filters will not remove noroviruses.
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after vomiting or having diarrhea by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
  • Immediately remove and wash soiled clothing or linens after vomiting or having diarrhea. Use hot water and soap.
  • Flush vomit and/or stool in the toilet. And make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.
  • Do not prepare food if you have symptoms of food poisoning and for 3 days after you recover.
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: May 01, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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