Sick To Your Stomach? Gastroenteritis Prevention

As the winter season rolls on, so does the threat of illness like colds, coughs and even the stomach bug. Gastroenteritis can easily be prevented, but doctors say they've seen an up tick of illnesses in the Metro.

And if you've ever had it, you know it's not fun. The stomach bug we are seeing making its way around town this time of year can easily be prevented.

First just keeping our hands away from our face, eyes and mouth is a start. But a couple seconds at the kitchen sink with a squirt of hand soap and rinse under the faucet can help to prevent an illness that can turn into quite a problem if not caught in time.

The students at Liberty Elementary School are learning about healthy food today, and school officials say the more they can talk health in the classroom, the better.

Sharon Wade says, "Encouraging students to wash their hands before eating and after visiting the rest rooms, teachers are very diligent about caring through with that."

During the school day, children touch many different objects, pencils, lockers and each other, so keeping those hands clean is important. Sharon Wade says, “being careful not to transmit to other students, because hands are the vehicles for illness to be spread from one person to another"

Dr. Benjamin Kumor, a third year Resident at the Nebraska Medical Center says bacteria usually come from a specific source. Dr. Benjamin Kumor says, "Most of these gastroenteritis types of infections are passed by what we call a fecal oral transmission.”

Generally we ingest the bacteria through our mouth, which then causes the sickness. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea and being unable to keep food or liquid down for longer than 48 hours. It’s recommended we need a week to 10 days of bed rest and watch out for dehydration.

Dr. Benjamin Kumor says, "The real concern is the dehydration, a little bit of vomiting a little bit of diarrhea never hurt anyone but it's the dehydration that can really get you down.”

Just taking a few easy steps to prevent the illness now, ensures the seats at school are not left empty.

Dr. Kumor tells me while it’s important to remember to re-hydrate, keep drinking fluids; he says too much can also be a problem. If we are sick with the stomach bug, the recommended amount of water to drink is about one to two ounces over the course of an hour. We are also urged to stay away from dairy products during our recovery, as they can actually help the bacteria infection last longer.

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