Winter sickness bug (norovirus)

Winter sickness bug (Norovirus)

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:

  • a high temperature of 38C or above
  • a headache
  • aching arms and legs

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. You should start to feel better in a day or two.
  • Read about how to treat diarrhoea and vomiting in children and adults.
  • Stay off school or work until the symptoms have stopped for 2 days. Also avoid visiting your GP or anyone in hospital during this time. This is when you're most infectious.
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.

If in doubt, you can call 111 - or visit NHS111 online - to speak to a trained call handler who can get you the most appropriate care and advice for your situation.