Diagnosis is usually based on your symptoms. But norovirus can be identified by testing a stool sample. If you are immunocompromised or have other health problems, your doctor may recommend a stool test to confirm the presence of norovirus.
There's no specific treatment for norovirus infection, and recovery generally depends on the health of your immune system. In most people, the illness usually resolves within a few days.
It's important to replace lost fluids. If you're unable to drink enough fluids to prevent dehydration, you may need to receive fluids intravenously.
Your doctor also may recommend over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication if you're under the age of 65.
Lifestyle and home remedies
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:
- Starches and cereals, such as potatoes, noodles, rice or crackers
- Broiled vegetables
Preparing for your appointment
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment and know what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Write down your symptoms, including when the illness began and the frequency of the vomiting and diarrhea.
- Make a list of all your medications, vitamins or supplements.
- Write down your key medical information, including other conditions.
- Write down key personal information, including any recent changes or stressors in your life.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Questions to ask your doctor
- What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
- What treatments can help?
- How can I avoid spreading my illness to other people?
In addition to the questions that you've prepared to ask your doctor, don't hesitate to ask questions during your appointment.
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may make time to go over points you want to spend more time on. You may be asked:
- When did you or your child first begin experiencing symptoms?
- How frequent are the vomiting and diarrhea?
- Does the vomit or diarrhea contain mucus, blood or a dark green fluid (bile)?
- Have you or your child had a fever?
Nov. 17, 2017
- Matson DO, et al. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of norovirus and related viruses. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 14, 2017.
- Blacklow NR. Epidemiology of viral gastroenteritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 14, 2016.
- 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.
- AskMayoExpert. Norovirus. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2015.
- Alexandraki I, et al. Acute viral gastroenteritis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.
- Norovirus: Technical fact sheet. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html. Accessed Nov. 15, 2016.