ASK THE EXPERT: Preventing the dreaded stomach bug

Ask the Expert

GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)– The “Stomach flu” is circulating and may stick around a little longer than usual this year, according to some health experts.

As part of our ask the expert series, with Bon Secours St. Francis Health, 7 News spoke with a family medicine doctor about how to stay well and prevent the dreaded stomach bug from entering your home.

According to the CDC, stomach bug, or stomach flu, outbreaks are most common from November to April. This year, COVID-19 precautions delayed it.

Dr. Rico Aragon, a Primary Care Physician said, “What’s happened is we’ve become more careful. We wash our hands more. We wear the masks.”

Dr. Aragon says now is prime time for the stomach bug. It is most often caused by the Norovirus and anyone can get infected with it.

“There are generally three ways that you get it. One is you drink contaminated water or contaminated food. The second is if you are exposed to someone who has the virus. The third is touching surfaces that have the virus in it and then putting your hands in your mouth.”

Dr. Rico Aragon, Primary Care Physician, Bon Secours St. Francis health

The stomach bug is extremely contagious– the symptoms unfavorable.

According to Dr. Aragon, “Generally, you’d have nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sometimes you can have abdominal pain, sometimes fever.”

If someone in your home is infected, washing your hands frequently and sanitizing surfaces vigorously can help to prevent the spread.

If you’re infected, then it’s probably a good idea to stay away from the rest of your household.

Dr. Aragon said, “You should quarantine yourself to the bedroom.”

Keeping food down is going to be a challenge, but Dr. Aragon says to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

“What you want to do is get hydrating fluids. You can drink Pedialyte if you want. Sports drinks are also good,” said Dr. Aragon.

There’s no treatment for Norovirus, so you just have to let it run its course.

Dr. Aragon says a person usually develops symptoms 12 to 48 hours after being exposed.

Most people get better within 1 to 3 days.

However, if you aren’t feeling better in three days, you should call your healthcare provider.

To submit a health topic for our Ask the Expert series, click here.

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