What's Going Around: Flu, stomach bug

What's Going Around: Flu, stomach bug

2014 has started with a lot of wintertime illnesses.  Here's a look at What's Going Around...

Dr. Jared Hess, a family medicine physician with Wellmont Medical Associates in Bristol, Tennessee says he's seeing an increase in flu cases.  He says symptoms include fever, chills, and aches. The onset is sudden. Usually, respiratory symptoms are minimal. There may be mild runny nose or cough.

Dr. Hess says home treatment includes acetaminophen or ibuprofen for fever and aches, fluids, and symptomatic treatments.  He adds it's important to see your doctor for accurate diagnosis in order to minimize the spread of disease.

Dr. Addison Ward, a family physician with Wellmont Medical Associates in Norton, Virginia is still seeing cases of that dreaded stomach virus.  

He says:

"We are seeing many patients with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, also known as acute gastroenteritis. The most common cause is viral (most commonly is the Norovirus). Viral gastroenteritis usually lasts two to three days, but can last as long as seven days. The best thing to do if you have acute viral gastroenteritis is to stay home, as it is does spread easily from person to person. Hand washing and avoiding close contact are important to prevent spreading of the illness. The symptoms usually resolve without treatment in two to three days, but it is important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Avoid soft drinks or sports drinks with high sugar content, as this can worsen nausea and diarrhea."

Dr. Ward advises contacting your primary care provider if you experience severe abdominal pain or bloody diarrhea or if you are experiencing dehydration and cannot keep any fluids down. Your primary care provider can prescribe anti-nausea medications that can help the symptoms. You should also seek medical care if symptoms last more than one week.

Dr. Rita Plemmons, a family medicine physician with Wellmont Medical Associates in Johnson City says her office is seeing a lot of patients with flu-like symptoms but have had no confirmed cases. She recommends washing hands, staying home when feasible and avoiding close contact with others as much as possible.

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