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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis)

Since there is a lot of the stomach flu (gastroenteritis) going around, I thought I’d share some links to some helpful information.  I had a round of it earlier in the week and it’s no fun.  Stomach flu is contagious so it’s important that you wash your hands frequently when around a sick person and when you are the one who is sick.

Symptoms of stomach flu include:

-Low-grade fever
-Abdominal aches and pains

When to see a doctor:

Call your doctor if:
You're not able to keep liquids down for 24 hours
You've been vomiting for more than two days
You're dehydrated — (you are excessively thirsty, have dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness
You notice blood in your bowel movements
You have a fever above 104 F

If you have an infant, call your baby's doctor right away if your baby:
Has vomiting that lasts more than several hours
Hasn't had a wet diaper in six hours
Has bloody stools or severe diarrhea
Has a sunken fontanel — the soft spot on the top of your baby's head
Has a dry mouth or cries without tears
Is unusually sleepy, drowsy or unresponsive (1)

If you have diarrhea and/or vomiting, you should stick to a liquid diet such as water, low-fat chicken broth, non-caffeinated sports drink or tea.  Once the symptoms pass, you can move on to bland foods such as pretzels, crackers, bananas, chicken, and boiled potatoes.  Stay away from any kind of fatty or heavy foods.

(1) Taken from Viral Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu) (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

For further information, check out these links:

Hand Washing: Do's and Dont's (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

Prevent the Spread of Norovirus (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Stomach Flu: How Long Am I Contagious? (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)

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