Because there is no medicine that will kill norovirus, treatment methods consist of managing symptoms while the body fights the norovirus infection. One of the most important norovirus treatment methods involves keeping the body hydrated. Other suggestions include getting plenty of rest, eating bland foods, and avoiding caffeine until the infection has passed.
Norovirus Treatment: An Overview
There is no medicine that will kill norovirus. Also, there is no norovirus vaccine that will prevent an infection. Therefore, norovirus treatment goals are focused on providing supportive care while the body fights the norovirus. Supportive care refers to treating symptoms, such as dehydration, that occur as a result of the norovirus infection.
Fortunately, for people with healthy immune systems, the body is able to effectively kill norovirus, and after 1 to 2 days, norovirus symptoms usually start to improve.
Rehydration as a Norovirus Treatment
Giving special fluids by mouth (called oral rehydration therapy) is the most effective norovirus treatment. Oral rehydration prevents most dehydration. By drinking oral rehydration fluids (ORF), juice, or water, people can reduce their chance of becoming dehydrated. Sports drinks do not replace the nutrients and minerals lost during this illness. Special fluids used for oral rehydration (such as Pedialyte®) can be found in most pharmacies or grocery stores and can be purchased without a prescription.
Parents of children with severe diarrhea should start oral rehydration and take their child for medical evaluation. In severe cases requiring a visit to the emergency room or hospitalization, norovirus treatment may involve replacing body fluids through the veins using an intravenous (IV) line.
Other Norovirus Treatment Suggestions
Besides making sure that the person is adequately hydrated, other treatment suggestions that may help relieve norovirus symptoms include the following:
- Allow your gastrointestinal tract to settle by not eating for a few hours
- Sip small amounts of clear liquids or suck on ice chips if vomiting is still a problem
- Gradually reintroduce food, starting with bland, easy-to-digest food, like toast, broth, apples, bananas, and rice
- Avoid dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete
- Get plenty of rest.
Click on any of the links below to learn more about norovirus, including how the virus is spread and the prognosis for a person already infected.