Season of giving – stomach virus

Season of giving – stomach virus
Several tummies have been quite rumbly lately and it isn’t over the thought of the enormous array of holiday food.
According to local nurse practitioner Jack Baltz, a strain of the stomach virus is currently making its way around the area in both children and adults.
Those who have been afflicted with the illness have been experiencing body aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea that have lasted for a two-day period. In a few cases, the symptoms have been accompanied by a low-grade fever.
“It’s not been really bad, but it’s been serious enough to keep sick children out of school for a day or two or adults off work for a day or two, but there have been no cases of hospitalization due to dehydration,” Baltz said.
If any signs start showing up, Baltz recommends switching to a liquid diet, including drinks such as Gatorade or Sprite, and not eating any solids for 24 hours. This allows the intestines to rest if the person has been vomiting or having diarrhea and the virus will be able to run through the system faster.
“Diarrhea shouldn’t be stopped unless it’s been more than 24 hours,” he advised. “It doesn’t need to become locked up in the gut. It’s good to get it out and get the system cleared of it.”
“Of course, most of this can be prevented through good hand washing and good hygiene habits. Using Lysol to disinfect areas is a good practice as well,” he added.
Also going around is pink eye. Cases of pink eye, or conjunctivitis, have been circulating lately in both children and adults.
“If the eye is just red, it won’t be a problem, but if it’s matted shut and has a yellowish crust forming on it, then the bacteria has set in and antibiotic drops will likely be needed,” Baltz said.
The flu is not yet a problem, according to Baltz, either in the clinic or in the emergency room. He expects the cases to pick up after the college students return from Christmas break and the number of cases will begin to rise considerably around February, as is the normal trend.
People must deal with allergies year round, as Baltz attests, but the allergies that are occurring now and that will occur for the remainder of the winter season will be largely due to mold and not harvest as the majority of crops will be long gone.
“In the winter, people stay indoors more and pick up a variety of allergies from the mold. This can come from household plants, spores, leaky pipes and the building itself, particularly if it’s an older house or office,” Baltz said. “As everything closes up in the winter, more viral infections have the chance to circulate indoors. Mold forms where there is less sunlight and where it’s damp and there’s little movement. The winter brings more mold.”
Getting back to issues of the stomach, Baltz also advises, of course, to watch overeating as goodies are becoming more and more abundant.
“Watch out for a sweet overload,” he said.
WCP 12.15.11

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