Published on May 20, 2022

Another Virus?

COVID cases are dropping, mask mandates have lifted, and more people are now gathering. Despite the drop in COVID cases, we are seeing a rise in another virus—the Norovirus, also known as the stomach flu. But what is the stomach flu exactly? Simply stated: it’s a highly contagious bug that causes vomiting and diarrhea. There can be other associated symptoms, such as nausea, abdominal cramping and fever. This virus spreads easily on surfaces, contact with another person, or by ingesting contaminated food or water. Symptoms tend to manifest rather quickly; usually within 12 to 48 hours from exposure and are short-term, lasting only a few days.

With exciting events going on like major league baseball  back in season or the NBA playoffs—all reasons to gather with friends, family, and FOOD—we need to exercise caution and continue to wash our hands. Hand washing remains the number one way to prevent the spread of germs.

Typically, the stomach flu can be treated at home by practicing supportive care such as taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever, an anti-diarrheal if diarrhea is present in adults, and most importantly, fluid replacement. Drink those clear fluids! In the event you are unable to keep fluids down for 24 hours, are losing too much from frequent trips to the restroom, feel weak, or you notice your heart rate is faster than usual, head into Urgent Care or an emergency department to determine if IV fluids are needed to rehydrate you. In children, it is important to note how much fluid they consume versus how much urine they produce. If you have an infant who is crying without tears, head in right away.

So, as you enjoy your weekend eating that delicious brisket at your next family gathering, or are simply out and about running your errands, please remember to frequently wash your hands. And if that stomach bug gets you, we are here to help, so come on in. Happy May!

Angie Luna, RN, Henry Mayo Newhall Urgent Care Manager