Norovirus: what to expect when you’re expelling

The Norovirus is a nasty little bugger.

The Norovirus is a nasty little bugger. Otherwise known as the winter vomiting bug (but it’s oh so fashionable any time of the year) it’s one that’s best avoided, but almost impossible to if you come into contact with someone who has it.

Enter my housemate’s ill boyfriend, spewing his guts up every few hours on Saturday night. Cue my mid-work breakdown on Monday evening as a fever and tummy pains developed during a hellish shift. So it begins: the norovirus. 

The Science-y Bit

Norovirus is a form of gastroenteritis, which affects both the stomach (gastro) and the small intestine (entero-). Unfortunately, that means you get the worst of both worlds – vomiting and diarrhoea. 

Incubation time for the virus to develop and show symptoms in your body can be anything from 12 ­- 48 hours. And those symptoms would be? Let’s see, along with the chundering and Jackson-Pollocking of the toilet we have: nausea, fever, weakness, muscle pain, headaches, dehydration and basically every nasty feeling you can think of all hitting your body at once. 


So what can you do to tackle the norovirus? Not a whole lot really. Apart from taking paracetamol for fever, aches and pains, there’s nothing modern medicine can do. As it’s a highly contagious virus, it’s best to stay at home unless you become seriously dehydrated or violently ill. 

Oral re-hydration salts such as Dioralyte are good to take after any bowel movements. 

For more information, check out the NHS website

Foods to Eat 

As well as drinking plenty of water, you should try to eat small amounts of plain food that are easy for your body to digest. Dry toast, or crackers, boring though they may be, will be welcomed by your tummy.  Ginger biscuits are venturing into slightly more exotic territory, but are still gentle on your stomach and the sugar will help give you an energy boost. 

Other carbohydrates such as plain rice or pasta, boiled or baked potatoes can also be good for energy and are easy to digest.  If you’re not up for any solid foods, try some soup like chicken noodle or Scotch broth to keep you warm and get you those much needed nutrients! 

Try to avoid eating too much dairy, spicy, greasy or fatty foods. You can gain back those calories after your body stops rejecting solid food and most liquids. 

Preventative Measures 

You may still be contagious up to 48 hours after you stop showing symptoms. To avoid further contamination for people you’ve been in contact with who haven’t been affected, wash your hands regularly or use hand-sanitizer gel.  Use antibacterial wipes on any surfaces you’ve been in contact with like light switches, door handles, sink taps, toilet seats and toilet handles. 

During this time it may be best to stay at home, rest and maybe get through one or two seasons of How I Met Your Mother to distract from the aches and pains.  That is unless you want to pass the norovirus onto your mortal enemy, in which case, feign a ceasefire and offer up a friendly (but secretly deadly) handshake.

Have you had the norovirus? What is your experience and what advice would you share? Have your say in the comments section below, on Facebook or on Twitter.