Nasty virus may have been mistaken for flu in some cases

By Joe Bennett

March 18, 2013 Updated Mar 19, 2013 at 10:49 AM CDT

PEORIA, Ill -- Norovirus typically lasts a couple of days and may cause its victims to feel flu-like symptoms.

"There are definitely people coming in with respiratory symptoms that did get vaccinated that clinically look like influenza," according to Dr. Jason Stringer at Methodist Medical Center in Peoria.

However, the norovirus tends to attack a different part of the body.

Dr. Stringer says the ER has treated three or four gastroenteritis patients per shift.

Those patients have the flu-like symptoms with the addition of vomiting and diarrhea.

"People feel terrible either way," Dr. Stringer says. "Any viral infection like that is going to cause you to feel lousy, so lots of muscle aches and pains."

Dr. Stringer norovirus is common and is responsible for the majority of non-bacterial gastroenteritis patients at Methodist.

The virus is highly contagious and lasts 24 to 36 hours.

Unless you do not have a fully developed immune system, you should be fine aside from the discomfort.

Dr. Stringer says the best thing to do is flush it out with fluids.

If you have hard time keeping down food, try drinking a lot in small doses.

Dr. Stringer suggests, "If you have any questions or concerns, really get checked out, and then stay on top of the fluids."

If you have not yet caught the bug, you may be in the clear soon.

Dr. Stringer says the virus tends to be seasonal and will probably not stick around much longer.

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