Stomach "bug"

What is stomach flu?
Stomach flu caused by a virus that can result in vomiting and diarrhea. 

What are the symptoms of illness caused by stomach flu?
Stomach flu illness usually begins 24 - 48 hours after exposure, but can appear as early as 10 hours after exposure. Symptoms usually include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Sometimes people have a low-grade fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and a general sense of tiredness. The illness is usually brief, with symptoms lasting only 1 or 2 days. 

How serious is stomach flu?
Stomach flu is usually not serious, but people may feel very sick. Most people get better within 1 or 2 days, and have no long-term health effects from the illness. Sometimes people are unable to drink enough liquids to replace what they lose from vomiting and diarrhea. So, they can become dehydrated and need to see a doctor. This problem usually occurs only among the very young, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems or chronic diseases. 

How is stomach flu spread?
Stomach flu is easily spread from person to person. The virus is found in the feces and vomit of infected people. People can become infected in several ways including:
*eating food or drinking liquids that are contaminated
* touching contaminated surfaces or objects then touching their mouth before washing    their hands
* having direct contact with another person who is infected and then touching their          mouth before handwashing. 

What treatment is available for people with stomach flu infection?
Currently, there is no specific medication or vaccine for stomach flu. Stomach flu infection cannot be treated with antibiotics. By drinking fluids, such as juice or water, people can reduce their chance of becoming dehydrated. 


Do infected people need to be excluded from school, work or daycare?
Since the virus is passed in vomit and feces, children should not go to daycare or school while they have diarrhea or vomiting. Once illness ends, children can return to daycare, but handwashing must be strictly monitored. Persons who work in nursing homes, take care of patients, or handle food should stay out of work until at least three days after symptoms end. 

Can stomach flu be prevented?
You can decrease your chance of coming in contact with stomach flu by:
• Frequent handwashing with warm water and soap
• Promptly disinfecting contaminated surfaces with household chlorine bleach-based cleaners
• Washing soiled clothing and linens
• Avoiding food or water from sources that may be contaminated 


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