Birmingham doctor's offices are receiving more calls about a nasty stomach flu this season, especially after the CDC announced that a new strain of the norovirus is hitting the U.S.
FOX6 News spoke witih Dr. Joann Mays at Redmont Piediatrics Tuesday and she says that while it's normal to see quite a few cases of the stomach flu during the winter, she's seen a 25 to 30 percent increase this year. The virus is spread through contaminated food or by touching surfaces that infected people have touched.
However, Mays says there's no reason to be more concerned about the norovirus.
"It is a bad virus. But you have to realize that [doctors] take care of stomach viruses all the time," she said. "So basically, I don't think people need to panic. Just work on hydration, good hand washing, try to prevent exposure to people you know are sick because they are contagious the whole time they have vomiting and diarrhea."
If you contract it, Dr. Mays says it's important to stay hydrated. Drinks like Pedialite for kids or Gatorade for adults is usually the best way to do that.
Also, if you feel like eating, a bland diet is best: bananas, rice, white potatoes, saltines. Dr. Mays says for most folks, this bug lasts about two to three days and usually five at the most.
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