Knowing how to recognize and respond to key Norovirus symptoms will make your time under the weather a little more bearable and, more importantly, provide you with some piece of mind. Commonly known as the “stomach flu,” the Norovirus is actually a series of viruses that have an effect on the gastrointestinal system. In other words, they induce the most miserable and often scary stomach flu symptoms—the ones that keep you locked in the bathroom. Unfortunately, the only way to get rid of the stomach flu is to let it run its course. As soon as you feel these Norovirus symptoms coming on, call in to work or school and start drinking lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Stomach cramps and nausea. Unlike normal gastrointestinal cramps, the ones associated with Norovirus come on fast and strong. Many describe it as a sharp pain, accompanied with a little bloating and general sense of discomfort. It often comes on right before waves of nausea begin to set in.
- Relatively low fever. Other virus symptoms include fever, but what makes the fever associated with Noroviruses unique is their relatively low intensity. Aside from actually measuring your temperature, you’ll be able to “feel” a fever, as chills and a general feeling of cold will become noticeable.
- Vomiting. Soon after the stomach cramps, nausea and fever come into play, vomiting is often the next symptom to begin among many Norovirus victims. People react to this symptom on an individual basis. For some, the vomiting is limited to once or twice throughout the entire course of the illness. For others, it is regular and nearly continuous for the 24 to 48 hour period a Norovirus infection lasts. It is this second group that should make an effort to drink as much fluid as they can hold down, as they are more susceptible to dehydration.
- Diarrhea. As if stomach pain and vomiting weren’t enough, Norovirus sufferers often must deal with bouts of diarrhea as well. With this type of virus, the stool typically isn’t bloody or particularly dark. It is, however, often painful and uncomfortable.
- Dehydration. As mentioned before, the most dangerous Norovirus symptom—especially in the later stages of illness—is dehydration. Though a healthy individual should be able to deal with the infection handily, those who are either older or younger on the age spectrum are vulnerable to this condition. Additionally, those already dealing with prior illnesses and conditions might find it more difficult to stay hydrated. If you suspect that you’re getting dehydrated while infected with Norovirus, it’s a wise idea to head to the hospital so they can monitor you and maintain your hydration.