"What's Going Around?" - Stomach Virus - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

"What's Going Around?" - Stomach Virus

JONESBORO -- The start of the school year brings many things. New friendships, challenges and learning opportunities. Unfortunately, area students are sharing more than just textbooks and erasers.  "What's Going Around?" finds that less than nine days into the school year and stomach virus is already beginning to show up. 

   Looking at this precious little face, it's hard to imagine that four-month-old Abigail Gage, or Abby is getting over a tough bug-- viral gastroenteritis, better known as stomach virus.

   "About five days ago, she started getting a little fussy, " said Dawn Gage, Abigail Grace's mother.  "She started developing some diarrhea. No fever. I waiting 24 hours and then I called the doctor."

    "I've been seeing a lot of stomach virus," explains Dr. Lowery Beck, a Jonesboro pediatrician. "Been seeing that for about a week and a half.  Dr. Lowery Beck is Abby's pediatrician.  He says stomach virus can be harder on infants than older, school age children.

    "It is because the infants do not have as much reserve as the older child," said Dr. Beck.  "They tend to get dehydrated a little quicker than the older kids."

   Abby is the Gages' youngest child.  She has two older sisters that are school-age.

  "We had our 7-year-old.  She had a low-grade fever," said Steve Gage, Abigail Grace's father.  "But she really never showed any other symptoms. I'm not sure if she carried something home and Abby picked it up."

  "I think it's just a combination of young babies and then the older kids are back in school sharing these things with each other," explained Dr. Beck.

  And this is not something you want to share.   If these symptoms:  diarrhea, vomiting, fever and dehydration last 48 hours, it's time to call or visit your doctor.  Stomach virus can last 3 to 5 days.  You can reduce fever with Tylenol or Motrin.  But guarding against dehydration is key.  Pushing fluids being in a frozen or liquid form is important.  And for the little ones, just good old fashioned tender loving care.

    "At first, when their bottom gets a little irritated, they do get upset because it hurts when you have to change their diaper," said Dawn Gage.  "And you need to do that frequently!"

    "I've changed my share of diapers during this period!" said Steve Gage with a laugh.

    Stomach virus is not stomach flu.  It's a virus, and does not infect the stomach.

    "Antibiotics do nothing for this," said Dr. Beck.  "I would advise parents to not go in putting pressure on their physician to prescribe antibiotics."

    So how can you prevent the spread of this illness?  Wash your hands! Wash after using the restroom or changing diapers.  Wash before you eat and disinfect contaminated surfaces.  And try to keep children from sharing drinks.

    While it's not an outbreak or epidemic, Dr. Beck says stomach virus is going around.  So, take precautions at home and school to prevent the spread of the illness. 

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