Self-management

If your family includes young children, it's a good idea to have commercially prepared oral hydration solution, such as Pedialyte, on hand. Adults can drink sports drinks and broths. Drinking liquids that contain a lot of sugar, such as soft drinks and fruit juices, can make diarrhea worse.

Smaller meals and a bland diet may help limit vomiting. Some foods to consider:

  • Soup
  • Starches and cereals, such as potatoes, noodles, rice or crackers
  • Banana
  • Yogurt
  • Broiled vegetables

Norovirus infection is highly contagious, and anyone can become infected more than once. To help prevent its spread:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly, especially after using the toilet or changing a diaper.
  • Avoid contaminated food and water, including food that may have been prepared by someone who was sick.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables before eating.
  • Cook seafood thoroughly.
  • Dispose of vomit and fecal matter carefully, to avoid spreading norovirus by air. Soak up material with disposable towels, using minimal agitation, and place them in plastic disposal bags.
  • Disinfect virus-contaminated areas with a chlorine bleach solution. Wear gloves.
  • Stay home from work, especially if your job involves handling food. You may be contagious as long as three days after your symptoms end. Children should stay home from school or child care.
  • Avoid traveling until signs and symptoms have ended.
Jan. 31, 2017
References
  1. Matson DO, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of norovirus and related viruses. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 14, 2017.
  2. Blacklow NR. Epidemiology of viral gastroenteritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 14, 2016.
  3. Longo DL, et al., eds. Viral gastroenteritis. In: Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education; 2015. http://accessmedicine.com. Accessed Nov. 14, 2016.
  4. AskMayoExpert. Norovirus. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
  5. Alexandraki I, et al. Acute viral gastroenteritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
  6. Norovirus: Technical fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.