The Stomach Bug... It's Here

Gastroenteritis: What You Need To Know

Stomach “bug” AKA Gastroenteritis

What is gastroenteritis?

The stomach “bug” is usually a sickness caused by a virus which spreads from person to person or through food contamination.  Symptoms usually appear 1 to 2 days after exposure. Symptoms are often mild and usually only last a day or two. You may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Upset Stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Abdominal cramps

Some tips to prevent getting a stomach bug:

food safety guideliens

  • Wash your hands.
  • Don’t share drinks.
  • Do not prepare food for people if you are sick.
  • Throw out refrigerated leftovers once a week to avoid eating spoiled food.
  • Clean surfaces well before preparing food on them.
  • Keep your meats separate from your vegetables when storing them.
  • Cook meat to 160F and maintain at 140F or higher.
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator or microwave.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
  • Don’t put cooked meat on the plate where raw meat was held.

What to do if you get a stomach “bug”:

  • Wait about 30-60 minutes after the last vomiting to try drinking fluids.
  • Sip small amounts of clear liquids frequently. Try ice chips, sips of water, flat ginger ale or 7-up, weak tea, diluted apple juice, Gatorade, clear soups, Jell-O.
  • Let your gastrointestinal tract settle by not eating for several hours. Then start with small amounts of bland, easy-to-digest food:  cooked cereals,  bread or bagel (no butter or margarine), toast with jelly, crackers, plain pasta, pretzels or bread sticks, fruits ( banana, apple, applesauce ), cooked potatoes,  cooked vegetables, eggs, rice, chicken, turkey, baked fish.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat small amounts of bland food frequently for 2-3 days to prevent recurrence.
  • Avoid dairy products, greasy or spicy foods, raw vegetables, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications:

  • Anti diarrheals Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate (e.g., Pepto-Bismol) or Loperamide (Immodium) can reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea. These medications should be avoided if you have a high fever or blood in the stools because they may make the illness worse.
  • Pain reliever/fever reducer Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can make you more comfortable. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is not recommended as it can cause further stomach upset.

Complications:  Your body needs fluids to function. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration:  excessive thirst, dry mouth, little urine or dark yellow urine, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness. Mild dehydration can be treated by drinking liquids. Severe dehydration may require intravenous fluids.

Call us at 315-443-9005 for an appointment if you experience:

  • Stools containing blood or black stools
  • Temperature over 101.5 F for more than 24 hours
  • Prolonged vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days

For more information: 

http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/viralgastroenteritis/index.aspx

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/faq.htm