Updated: Bug: 'It’s just very, very contagious'

Updated: Bug: 'It’s just very, very contagious'

CHAMPAIGN — Got that yuck feeling?

A stomach bug is going around the area, some of it caused by norovirus, local health officials say.

Norovirus is a contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.

There has been one small confirmed norovirus outbreak, but "all you have to do is look on Facebook and you know people are getting it," says Champaign-Urbana Public Health District Administrator, Julie Pryde.

Christie Clinic and Carle convenient care are seeing a fair share of the current stomach bug, though doctors aren't necessarily classifying it norovirus, spokesmen say.

"It's really hard to tell if it's norovirus or one of the other viruses that cause gastroenteritis," said Dr. Nathan Walker, an internal medicine physician at Christie Clinic.

Whatever the culprit, this is a short-lived illness of 48 to 72 hours, with a short incubation time, Walker said.

Norovirus infections cause gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, which leads to cramping, nausea and the other unpleasant symptoms. Some people also have fever, body ache and headache with this infection.

It can spread with a tiny speck of vomit, Pryde says.

"It's just very, very contagious," she says.

Norovirus usually isn't serious, though it can be in young children and the elderly, and people generally get better in one to three days. There aren't any medications to treat it, but people who are sickened by noroviruses are advised to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The best way to avoid getting sick yourself is frequent hand washing, and avoiding hand-to-mouth contact.

And if you've been sick, "stay home and clean very well," Pryde says.

She also advises anyone who's been sick to stay out of the kitchen for a few days and let someone else prepare the meals.

"Do not make food for anyone for three days after, if you want to be safe, because you can still be shedding."

Learn more about Norovirus: http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/about/overview.html

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