Are you experiencing the “Winter Bug”?

The “Winter Vomiting Bug” is going around. If you’ve been having episodes of vomiting or diarrhea, chances are it is related to Norovirus. It is one of the leading causes of vomiting and diarrhea in the U.S. and is the most common cause of epidemic gastroenteritis (“stomach flu”) worldwide. When you read or hear about a cruise being cancelled because of vomiting and diarrhea, there is a very good chance it is from an outbreak of Norovirus.

Norovirus is highly contagious and easily transmitted through close contact with someone who is infected or from contaminated food or water. Symptoms typically appear 12-48 hours after being exposed, though not everyone who is exposed will be infected or show symptoms. Some people who do not show symptoms may still be contagious. Symptoms usually seen with a Norovirus infection include watery diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and cramping. Other common symptoms may include body aches, low grade fevers, and headaches. Although symptoms usually last only 1-2 days, the vomiting and diarrhea can become severe enough to lead to complications such as dehydration or electrolyte abnormalities.

You may have a non-routine case of Norovirus if you have the following “Red flag” symptoms: dizziness, feeling faint or going to pass out, abdominal pain, blood in your stool or vomit, high fever, and/or symptoms that last more than 2 days. If you have these symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately.

Treatment for Norovirus can include aggressive rehydration (including IV fluids), checking for and correcting electrolyte disturbances, anti-diarrheal medications (prescription or over-the-counter), and anti-nausea medications. Your local Piedmont Urgent Care by WellStreet has the staff and resources to make sure the Winter Vomiting Bug is put to rest!

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