What's Going Around: viral gastroenteritis - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

What's Going Around: viral gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis is what's going around this week. (Source: KPLC) Viral gastroenteritis is what's going around this week. (Source: KPLC)

Norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus: those are the main culprits behind the illness that is making people sick this week.

Dr. Tammy Mitchell with Lake Area Physicians says viral gastroenteritis or the "stomach bug" is What's Going Around across age groups.

"Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping," said Dr. Mitchell.  "A few people also may have a fever, as well."

The symptoms can come on quickly, usually within a day of exposure to the virus.

"Typically it's a fecal-oral transmission or it might be someone has diarrhea, they go to the bathroom, they don't necessarily wash their hands very well, touch another family member or person, so it can be hand-to-hand contact," said Dr. Mitchell.

Dr. Mitchell says that is what makes this stomach bug so contagious, especially in childcare or school settings.

"If you suspect that you or a family member has it, strict hand-washing is most important to avoid spreading it more," she said.

Give yourself plenty of rest while your body fights the bug, lots of clear fluids or sports drinks with electrolytes, and Dr. Mitchell says allow a day or two to be symptom-free before returning to work or school.

"24-48 hours after the diarrhea has subsided, then you should no longer be contagious," she said.

If your symptoms do not go away within about 48 hours or you start to feel light-headed or dizzy, you need to see a doctor.  Dehydration could be setting in and you might need IV fluids.  

The stomach bug can last as long as a week in young children or people who are immuno-compromised.  Treatment is the same: rest, fluids, and bland foods.

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