Norovirus infection is responsible for the sudden start of severe diarrhea and vomiting. It is a highly contagious virus. It usually spreads through contaminated or infected food or water or infected surfaces. An infected person may also spread this virus among other healthy people.(1)
How Long Are You Contagious With The Norovirus?
If you have contacted norovirus, you are contagious from the time you start feeling sick, till even after three days of complete recovery. In some instances, it is possible to stay contagious for up to two weeks after recovery.(2) Hence, it is advisable for the people infected with norovirus to not prepare food for a minimum of up to three days after recovery, as norovirus is highly contagious.
Can Norovirus Last Longer Than 3 Days?
The symptoms of norovirus infection can start as early as within 10 hours of contact with the virus to 24-48 hours. The symptoms are generally seen to be lasting 1 to 2 days. However, sometimes it may last a bit longer. As people with norovirus can be contagious for up to 3 days after recovery, it can be said that the virus can last longer than three days. Norovirus infection may result in the following signs and symptoms.
- Queasiness or sickness
- Pain or cramps in the abdomen
- Loose motions or watery diarrhea
- Unease or malaise
- Fever of a low-degree
- Pain or cramps in the muscles
The start of the signs and symptoms of norovirus is usually within twelve to forty-eight hours of first contacting the virus and lasts up to three days in most cases. In some cases, it may last up to two weeks. And in extreme cases or cases with other health problems, the occurrence of the norovirus in the stools may continue for up to several months
In case symptoms like tarry or bloody stools, severe vomiting or diarrhea, serious abdominal cramps, and dehydration are seen, it is advisable to consult with your doctor immediately.
Risk Factors For Norovirus Infection
Some of the factors can increase your risk of getting norovirus infection. These factors may include-
- Buying eatables or food from an unhygienic or unclean place
- Consuming food that is prepared with unhygienic methods
- Being at places like a childcare center, preschool, etc.
- Living at places that are small and packed with a significantly large number of people like nursing homes, close quarters, hotels, etc.
- If you come in contact with someone who is already infected with norovirus
Complications Of Norovirus Infection
Generally, the norovirus infection will get better on its own within one to three days of the start of the symptoms. It is not deemed as a life-threatening condition, otherwise. However, in some instances, the symptoms may become far too aggressive and may result in serious dehydration, loss of vital nutrients and may even prove to be fatal. It is always better to keep a watch on the intensity of symptoms and consult with your doctor urgently if there is an increase in the frequency or intensity of the symptoms.
Norovirus is an extremely contagious virus and can spread very quickly. The norovirus infection results in severe vomiting and diarrhea and can lead to severe dehydration. It usually gets better on its own within a couple of days, maybe three. However, it can make you wretched within those three days. There is no targeted treatment for norovirus infection, as antibiotics work only against bacterial infections and there are no antiviral medications useful for norovirus infection. Norovirus symptoms last for up to three days in most cases. In some instances, symptoms may last up to two weeks. However, an infected person can be contagious for beyond that period, even if the symptoms start getting better.