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.


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 norovirus is spread

You can catch norovirus from:

  • close contact with someone with norovirus
  • touching surfaces or objects that have been touched by someone with norovirus
  • eating food that has been prepared or handled by someone with norovirus

What you can do

The most effective way to prevent the spread of norovirus is to:

  • wash your hands frequently with soap and water (alcohol hand gels do not kill norovirus)
  • not share towels and flannels
  • not share cups, glasses, dishes or cutlery
  • disinfect any hard surfaces that an infected person has touched with a chlorine releasing agent, such as bleach

If you require medical advice, call NHS direct on 111.

You can read more about norovirus on the NHS website or visit Public Health England.

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