Stomach bug common this time of year


If you haven't been feeling well lately, you are not alone. Local doctors say this time of year it is common for a stomach bug.

The signs of a stomach bug outbreak are widespread. A few weeks ago, an elementary school in Gwinnett County shut its doors for a day because so many students were sick.

"Obviously, there has to be more than just one or two children that have come down sick, in order for them to shut down the entire elementary school," says Knight Elementary School parent Erin Rice.

Dr. Stephen Keith, who sees patients at Well Street Urgent Care, says stomach viruses are common this time of year.

"We are seeing a larger number of patients who are coming in with diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps," says Dr. Keith. "Certainly, not a huge epidemic to worry about, but we are aware that it does vary by different times of the year."

He says all age groups are being stricken with the bug.

To reduce your chances of getting it, wash hands frequently and be careful with cooked food.

"The easiest thing you can do is to make sure you are cleaning your food and cooking it adequately, and not undercooking. Because certain bacteria that will cause vomiting and diarrhea can live through very hot temperatures," says Dr. Keith.

Dr. Keith says once you have the bug, you simply have to wait it out. It will pass, but you can treat the symptoms. He says for the first 24 hours, drink only clear liquids.

"Clear liquids being water, ginger ale, 7Up, Pedialyte for children and Gatorade for either adults or children," suggests Dr. Keith.

During the next 24 hours start returning to a regular diet slowly with bread and rice, crackers and peanut butter. You should be better by the third day.

Dr. Keith says if blood is found in the stool, it's an indication of something more serious and they should seek immediate medical attention.

By staff writer 11/20/2013 11:17:00

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