Doctors report hundreds of Lowcountry residents infected with stomach virus

Doctors report hundreds of Lowcountry residents infected with stomach virus
Published: Mar. 2, 2015 at 11:20 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A nasty stomach bug is spreading around a Berkeley County School. More than 250 students and staff missed class at Whitesville Elementary, in Moncks Corner, on Monday.

But, it's not the only place the stomach bug is spreading.

"We see it most prevalent in the schools and also in crowded offices," said Jennifer Nelson, family practice physician at James Island Medical Center.

Nelson says hundreds of people have been showing up at doctors offices across the Lowcountry, reporting flu-like symptoms, but worse.

"It's commonly referred to as stomach flu but its a viral gastroenteritis," said Nelson.

This is a common time for bad stomach viruses to spread because during the colder weather months, people are staying inside, which is also keeping more germs inside, according to Nelson.

Nelson says it's similar to Norovirus, which is the bug that's made headline for sickening cruise ship passengers.

"Vomiting, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea and body aches," said Nelson. "It usually lasts one to three days."

If you're sick, do everyone a favor and stay home.

It's most commonly spread when people are out and about, eating around each other and not washing their hands.

Nelson says the best way to protect you and your family from catching it is to wash your hands, and do it often.

She also suggest Clorox wipes to disinfect your home.

"Wipe down your doors, door handles, railing and light fixtures," said Nelson.

If you do get this stomach virus, Nelson says there isn't really medicine that can help, it has to run its course.

But, it's important that while it does, stay hydrated.

Stick with drinking water, even if its just a sip at a time. Nelson says avoid carbonated, caffeinated and sugary drinks.

Also, eat light and bland foods like bananas, rice, apples and toast. Avoid eating solid foods, including anything greasy and spicy.

When you do start feeling better, take it easy and start out with soft food.

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