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Norovirus treatment, diagnosis & prescriptions

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Can a doctor treat norovirus infection on Maple?

Yes. In most cases, a doctor from Maple will be able to offer a norovirus diagnosis by evaluating your condition and discussing your symptoms. Further testing may be required to rule out other causes.

Can I get a prescription on Maple?

Yes. Our physicians can prescribe medication online during your consultation. Once you accept a prescription, you’ll have the option to pick it up from any pharmacy or to have it delivered to your door at no additional cost.

For more information, visit our How it works page.

What is norovirus infection?

Noroviruses are considered the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis.

Norovirus infection causes a sudden onset of inflammation and irritation in the stomach and intestines. It’s commonly associated with food poisoning and occurs most frequently in the winter months.

Symptoms typically appear within 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus and last 1 to 3 days. There are numerous types of noroviruses, meaning that there is no norovirus immunity for those who’ve already had it in the past.

What are the symptoms of norovirus infection?

Common norovirus symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea or watery stool
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • General discomfort
  • Muscles aches
What causes infection with a norovirus?

Norovirus causes stem from consuming contaminated food or water, being in close contact with an infected person, and from hand-to-mouth contact after touching contaminated objects or surfaces.

The virus itself exists in the stool and vomit of those infected. Norovirus transmission can occur through direct contact transmission or through tiny particles of vomit or stool that land on surfaces. Norovirus is not considered an airborne disease.

How is norovirus infection treated?

Typically, the norovirus will go away on its own in 24 to 72 hours, depending on the health of your immune system and the severity of your infection.

Because there is no direct norovirus treatment, bed rest and drinking lots of fluid is recommended to help avoid dehydration and allow your body to heal on its own.

How can norovirus infection be prevented?

Norovirus prevention can be done in a few ways, including:

  • Cooking seafood thoroughly
  • Washing fruits and vegetables before preparing them
  • Disposing of vomit and fecal matter carefully
  • Avoiding crowded areas
  • Avoided possibly contaminated food and water
  • Disinfecting surfaces that could become contamination points
  • Avoid traveling
  • Thorough handwashing

If you believe you might be infected with norovirus, you should stay home and avoid contact with others to prevent them from becoming infected.

How does norovirus spread?

Because it’s so contagious, norovirus transmission often occurs in high-density places or settings with frequent close-quarters encounters such as:

  • Schools
  • Nursing homes
  • Sporting events
  • Concerts and live theatre
  • Cruise ships

The virus spreads via direct contact transmission or through tiny particles of vomit or stool that land on surfaces.

What is the difference between norovirus and rotavirus?

The biggest differences between rotavirus and norovirus are the duration of the infection, who the virus typically affects, and possible complications associated with the infections. Both conditions are caused by fecal-oral contamination involving infected stool. Evaluating the symptoms alone may not be enough for a doctor to determine which virus is present because symptoms are similar.

Symptoms for a rotavirus infection typically last between three to eight days, while a norovirus infection typically lasts less than three days. Rotavirus most often affects children under five, while norovirus is more common in adults. There is a vaccine available for rotavirus, while there is no norovirus vaccine because of the numerous types of noroviruses.

Moreover, a child who does develop rotavirus may be immune to reinfection, while norovirus can reinfect someone repeatedly throughout their lives.

There are additional risks associated with severe dehydration in children experiencing rotavirus.

What is the difference between norovirus and food poisoning?

While norovirus and food poisoning both affect the stomach and intestines, the biggest difference between them is that norovirus recovery often occurs more quickly, between 24 to 72 hours.

Food poisoning may also cause additional symptoms, such as bloody diarrhea, that aren’t usually seen for norovirus cases.

Both conditions can be caused by ingesting contaminated food or water, or hand-to-mouth contact without proper handwashing.

What is the difference between norovirus and stomach bug?

Norovirus is sometimes called a “stomach bug”, although that term is often used to describe a wide array of food-borne illnesses.

In some cases, a “stomach bug” can turn out to be a norovirus infection. That being said, many food-borne and gastrointestinal illnesses have similar symptoms as the norovirus, so having a stomach bug doesn’t necessarily mean you have a norovirus infection.

If you’re experiencing norovirus symptoms, a doctor from Maple will be able to help you better determine the actual cause of your illness.

Is norovirus infection the flu?

No, norovirus isn’t the flu.

The influenza virus is an infection of the respiratory system, which often causes fever, chills, aches, and pains.

Norovirus is an infection that affects the stomach and intestines, often causing vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping or pain.

How long does norovirus infection last without treatment?

Typically, norovirus duration lasts between one to three days without treatment. The speed at which you recover can be influenced by the health of your immune system.

If you continue to experience vomiting and diarrhea after 72 hours, you should speak to a doctor on Maple about whether you need further testing or treatment.

What is Maple?

With Maple, you can start talking to a doctor about your symptoms in a matter of minutes. We’re a healthcare platform for fast, convenient 24/7 access to Canadian doctors.

Simply log in, tap a button to request a consultation, and we’ll connect you to a doctor via live chat or video. For more information, visit our How it works page.

Our doctors can assess symptoms and provide treatment, including prescriptions as necessary.

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