Doctors warn long-lasting viral stomach bug spreading through Pa.

Doctors say it’s spreading like wildfire and the virus is more intense and longer in duration than typical viruses

YORK, PA (WHTM) – You may know of someone who has recently gotten the viral stomach bug, or you may have come down with it yourself.

Doctors say it’s spreading like wildfire. The virus is more intense and longer in duration than typical viruses.

Doctors and hospitals in Dauphin, York, and Lancaster Counties in Pennsylvania are seeing cases of this viral stomach bug almost every day.

“I didn’t even move. I was in my bed,” said Carlie Suarez, who works at WellSpan York Hospital.

She had to call in sick earlier last week.

“I was exhausted too. I was dehydrated,” she said. “Anything I would put in, it would come right back out.”

Suarez spent days in her bed with nausea, aches, fatigue, and gastrointestinal problems. She and four family members got the bug.

“My dad currently has it,” Suarez said. “We were on vacation, and the whole time he was miserable. He didn’t want to eat, and he’s a big eater. He’s a big guy.”

“Sometimes the virus, that special strain, is stronger than at other times,” said Rebekah Wickenheiser, a physician assistant at Patient First in Lower Paxton Township.

One of the things making this viral stomach bug worse than typical 24-hour bugs is how long it lasts.

“It’s variable. The average time would be about a week or so. Some people bounce back after a couple days. Some people it takes 10 days and sometimes even up to two weeks,” Wickenheiser said.

Doctors at Patient First aren’t sure of the strain. They said it could be the rotavirus or norovirus, but doctors do know it’s spreading quickly throughout Central Pennsylvania. You can’t get antibiotics for it since it’s a virus.

Wickenheiser says the virus is very easy to catch.

“It could be on the cart at the grocery store, a door knob, a handrail. It could be anywhere, but it can also be from sharing a drink or eating after a sick person,” Wickenheiser said.

Doctors encourage you to eat a bland diet if you have the virus. Bananas, rice, pudding, and applesauce are good choices. You should avoid fried or greasy foods.

“It’s very contagious,” Wickenheiser said. “You’re sick, and so you should rest up as much as you can. Drink lots of fluid. Water is always best, or some sports drinks are another alternative, as they have a lot of good electrolytes in them.”

That’s something Suarez knows all too well.

“I want to get it over with,” Suarez said. “I want to get back to work and get what I need to do done. It was just drawn out, and I still feel worn out from it.”

Doctors say you should stay at home if you have it. If you don’t, wash your hands frequently and use hand sanitizer. Another way to avoid catching the bug is to keep your hands off your face.


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