Health Team

'Stomach Bug' Sufferers Make Way To Area Hospitals

Posted February 14, 2007
Updated February 15, 2007

WRAL Health Team
WakeMed said stomach viruses are the No. 1 reason people have been coming through its emergency department for the past couple months. A stomach virus involves diarrhea and sometimes vomitting and fever. For some, it can lead to dehydration. Some people also end up in the hospital.

When a stomach virus hit Vivian Johnson's home, it was like watching dominos fall.

"It traveled through our house really quickly," she said.

Johnson caught it as well as her husband. Now, she is concerned about her four boys. Her son, Isaiah, was the most recent case with diarrhea and vomiting.

"It was really hard because you have to go to the bathroom. You couldn't make,'" Isaiah said.

Johnson works at a preschool where she might have caught the bug.

"It's been horrible. We have a lot of children that's been coming in sick with stomach flu, stomach viruses," she said.

WakeMed emergency physician Dr. Gregory Cannon said he also sees many cases.

"(People) just can't keep things down or are having a lot of abdominal cramping or getting dehydrated, just feel ill from that or are having a high fever with it," he said.

Stomach viruses, which typically run its course from two or three days, are typically spread through hand to mouth contact. The virus lives on surfaces like door handles, computers or phones.

"It doesn't take much to touch something around the room and then touch your face," Cannon said.

Health experts said the way to avoid it is obvious, but too few people do it -- wash hands frequently and disinfect surfaces.

For those that do have a stomach bug, you can try taking fluids with ice chips until vomitting stops. Then try small amounts of clear liquids such as tea, broth, Gatorade or ginger-ale.

If you can tolerate a small amount of those fluids at first, then add more later; --one ounce every 15 minutes. If vomiting recurs, wait a hour or two before trying clear liquids again.

After 24 hours without nausea, vomiting or diarrhea or if you are hungry and not vomiting, you should try to eat dry toast, saltines, or white rice, with jelly or honey for energy. You may try the BRAT diet -- Bananas, Applesauce, Tea and Toast.

Cannon said if you are able to produce urine, it is a good sign that you are not in trouble of dehydration.

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  • fairyswearboots2 Feb 19, 2007

    well out of 9 in my home 7 have been sick with this awful virus since friday - vomiting and the Other uugghhhh!!!
    now worried adbout the 3 week old grandson.........

  • Tired Of Excuses Feb 18, 2007

    A germ free environment? In a school? Um...I seriously doubt it. Basic soap and water should be in every restroom. This isn't rocket science here folks. We've had GI bugs for years. People jusst need to take a minute to wash their hands. Especially before eating and after using the restroom.

  • gratefultoGOD Feb 16, 2007

    Bread and Toast are the same... BRAT B- Bananas R-Rice A-Applesauce and T-Toast. Tea would be good.. but use decaf. Caffeine irrates an empty stomach. Ginger Ale has REAL Ginger and really does sooth the stomach.. and it does not have caffeine. Ginger snaps are good to eat also!

  • phoile Feb 16, 2007

    I was told BRAT diet stood for Bread Rice Applesauce and Toast.
    Where did the 'Tea' come in and what happened to what 'R' stands for?

  • packandcanesfan Feb 16, 2007

    tor12 I am glad you are feeling better and finally received the correct diagnosis. What a horrible ordeal for you. That weight loss is both amazing and frightening. Take care.

  • tor12 Feb 16, 2007

    The gastroenteritis virus first appeared in me about 1 Week prior. I was actually admitted to the hospital. They did not come close to a correct diagnosis. This past Monday I again called EMS for help, both with the virus and with debilitating back pain. The ER physician came a bit closer to a correct diagnosis, but would offer only two Tylenol for back pain so severe I could not walk. 24 hours later the same EMS crew picked me up in the very early AM. The ER MD finally got it right. He also saw the need for back pain relief, and provided it immediately. Within 24 hours I was able to continue a near normal life style.
    In a period of 10 days I lost 32 pounds, First 2 MDs missed that clue. I attempted to keep hydrated. Within 15 minutes of taking a small amount of water I would lose it.
    Please just read the suggestions in the papers and follow them. In 61 years of life I have never experienced that degree of pain and distress. I hope no one else has similar situations.

  • tlcmom22 Feb 16, 2007

    my child has it and states that most of her classmates have been out sick with it. I was concern with some of the comments she raised regarding basic soap and hot water that are not in the H.S bathrooms and that kids don't use the bathrooms because they are disgusting. I have heard this from a number of children. If the schools can't keep their environment germ free and provided basic soap and hot water then how do they expect these kids to get better or prevent the spread of germs? I suggest that schools need to clean desks, doornobs especially if their is an epidemic like this going around.

  • raxterc Feb 16, 2007

    Here is some more information for treating someone with a stomach virus, including how to make your own Pedialyte solution.

  • wondermom67 Feb 15, 2007

    It would help if the teachers could have the children clean their desks right before they change classes...I would gladly furnish several containers of clorox wipes.

    So far, we have not had it this year...nor do I want it, but I am keeping gatoraide on hand just in case.

  • the original Milky Feb 15, 2007

    "You may try the BRAT diet -- Bananas, Applesauce, Tea and Toast."
    You for the (R) Rice.