Norovirus infection is an extremely contagious infection, caused by the norovirus. It spreads very easily through contaminated food and water and also through direct contact with the infected person or surface.(1,2)
There are various types of noroviruses. However, an infection from one type does not give you immunity from an infection of the other type.
Norovirus can cause infection throughout the year. However, they seem to be more common in winter. Hence, it is also referred to as the winter vomiting bug, sometimes. The symptoms may make you quite miserable for a couple of days. But usually, they get better on their own and are nothing to unduly worry about.(2)
What Is The Best Treatment For Norovirus Infection?
As is the case with other viruses, noroviruses also do not respond to antibiotics as these are meant to act against the bacteria. There is no anti-viral medication that can act on noroviruses. There is no precise treatment for norovirus infection. The revival from this infection depends upon how good your immune system is. However, it usually gets better in most people within a few days, on its own.
That said, keeping the hydration levels by drinking enough fluids throughout the day really helps. If drinking is not possible, then intravenous administration of fluids may be needed to restore the lost fluids.
An anti-diarrheal medication that is usually available over the counter, may be recommended by your doctor.
Home Remedies For Norovirus Infection
As there is no designated treatment for norovirus and antibiotics are of no use in any viral infections, sometimes the relief is best obtained by natural or home remedies.
Some home remedies that may be useful in relieving the symptoms of norovirus infection are.(2)
Drink Enough Fluids- The loss of fluids due to diarrhea and vomiting can lead to severe dehydration which may further result in many complications. To restore this fluid balance, it is recommended to stay hydrated by consuming enough fluids like oral rehydration solution, sports drinks, broths, and soups etc. throughout the day.
Food Matters- There is often a decrease in your appetite as a result of norovirus infection. The appetite, however, will slowly start to build up once the symptoms get better. It is advisable to consume small, easy to digest meals like soups, broths, etc. starches like potatoes are also good. Cereals like rice and crackers may be helpful. Avoid hot, spicy, acidic, fatty and sugary foods
Take Enough Rest- persistent diarrhea and vomiting can make you very tired. You may also start a headache and muscle cramps. It is necessary to rest properly to give your body a chance to recover and fight off the disease. The cells will recover and repair themselves quickly if you give rest to your body.
Some Herbal Treatments May Help- Though there are not many studies establishing this theory, many people claim to be benefitted by the consumption of ginger and peppermint tea during norovirus infection. Ginger helps with nausea and loss of appetite. Peppermint or mint a soothe an upset stomach. It may also be helpful in treating gas and bloating. Chamomile tea may help in relaxing the muscle cramps, bloating and flatulence.(2)
Norovirus infection is a greatly communicable infection and can spread easily through infected food and water. It also spreads through direct contact with the affected person or surface. There is generally no treatment required for norovirus infection. The symptoms start getting better within 1 to 3 days at the start of the infection. In some instances, the symptoms may last up to 2 weeks. However, even after the symptoms start getting better, you may still spread the norovirus infection to others.
Hence, it is better to avoid going to work or sending kids to school for a few more days after symptoms get better.