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Gastric Virus / Stomach Flu

Prevention

  • Frequent hand washing especially after using the bathroom, changing a diaper or preparing food
  • Carefully wash fruits and vegetables – steam oysters before eating
  • Clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces with a mild bleach solution or Clorox wipes
  • Immediately remove and wash contaminated clothing
  • Persons who are infected should not prepare food while they have symptoms and for 3 days after recovery

Symptoms

  • Symptoms occur 24 to 48 hours after ingestion
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or stomach cramping
  • Some people may have a low-grade fever, chills, body aches or fatigue
  • Symptoms begin suddenly
  • Illness is brief – usually lasting only 1-2 days

Transmission

  • This type of virus is easily transmitted and can spread from person to person
  • Eating food or drinking contaminated foods or liquids
  • Touching surfaces or objects contaminated and then touching the mouth
  • Having direct contact with another person who is infected

Treatment

  • No vaccine is currently available
  • Antibiotics are not effective
  • Fluids, fluids, fluids – vomiting and diarrhea can lead to mild, moderate or severe dehydration
  • Start with clear liquids, such as Gatorade, clear broth, ginger ale, Jell-O and water
  • Advance to solid food as tolerated, start with bland foods such as, rice, cereal and potatoes
  • Resume regular diet when able
  • Over-the-counter, Imodium (Loperamide) can be used as directed for diarrhea that persists
  • Over-the-counter, Emitrol can be used as directed for nausea and vomiting
  • Anti-nausea medication may be prescribed if needed
  • IV fluids may be needed

Seek care immediately for severe abdominal pain, severe dehydration or high fever