Stomach Flu: What to Know about this Contagious Spring Illness
Though flu season is most closely associated with winter, it still is very active into the spring months. The “stomach flu” is also prevalent during this time of year, which is actually a completely different illness than influenza. The stomach flu, referred to by medical professionals as gastroenteritis, is caused by a number of viruses, mainly norovirus. It’s worth noting that getting a flu shot does not protect you from getting the “stomach flu,” but it does help to prevent you from getting influenza.
What are noroviruses?
Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes gastrointestinal illness, which typically results in vomiting and diarrhea. It is the most common cause of illnesses from contaminated food (food poisoning) in the United States — an estimated 20 million Americans get sick with it each year. Other than food poisoning, touching a contaminated surface, and then touching your nose, mouth or eyes can transmit noroviruses. In fact, the notoriety of the norovirus comes from the ease with which it spreads from one person to another.
Symptoms of norovirus
Norovirus symptoms generally begin within a day or two of exposure. The symptoms include:
- Stomach pain and cramps
- Fever and chills
- Weight loss
Treatment of norovirus
Though the symptoms can be severe, most people recover from the “stomach flu” within two days. There isn’t a specific treatment for norovirus infection, because it’s a virus, it cannot be treated with antibiotics.
The best way to prevent a norovirus infection is with good hygiene — careful hand washing can make all the difference.
If you have the ability to go early in the morning, I think that’s the only way you’ll avoid a multi-hour wait. Arrived at 6:50AM (doors open at 8AM, by that time there were 60+ people in line) and I was the ~20th person camping out in line. Got in the door at 8:40AM. Waited for a few minutes in the waiting room while they took my information. Test itself was quick (
Courteous. Efficient. Competent.
I came in for a cut and they took care of me quickly. Place was very clean, too.
The last thing I wanted to do was go into a medical facility right now. I very much appreciated how professional yet human they were. Thanks to Tara and the whole team there. Doing a great job.