If you missed my posts on Monday, it's because I was up at 3am blowing chunks into the porcelain throne the night before. It takes a lot for me to not blog, even when I'm sick, so you know I was hit with something awful. And no, I wasn't hungover.
Instead, as I later found out, I fell victim to this year's stomach bug. I picked it up at a holiday party here in Ohio, where I am doing the annual visit the in-laws thing. After garnering enough energy by Monday afternoon to Tweet about my ordeal, I learned from the @ replies, that I was not alone.
The stomach bug was not only afflicting others in Ohio, but a search on Google News revealed that it had earlier been spreading in the western part of my home state of North Carolina and throughout the U.S.
I also learned that the British were more likely to call it "norovirus" and that it was spreading like wildfire throughout the UK. (It is also called the "Norwalk virus" which is only completely ironic since I'm in Norwalk, Ohio.)
The stomach bug is not generally deadly, though it gives symptoms that send many to the emergency room. But it's lack of lethal-ness is perhaps the reason why Google has not been officially tracking it like it did the flu.
But oh - what a public service if it did! So, I went to Google Trends to see for myself how "stomach bug" and "norovirus" were, um, trending:
As you can see, the ailment is actually trending lower this year than in previous years, but it is on the rise.
Here are some tips to keep this trending lower:
Prevention Tips from the CDC:
- Frequently wash your hands, especially after toilet visits and changing diapers and before eating or preparing food.
- Carefully wash fruits and vegetables, and steam oysters before eating them.
- Thoroughly clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces immediately after an episode of illness by using a bleach-based household cleaner.
- Immediately remove and wash clothing or linens that may be contaminated with virus after an episode of illness (use hot water and soap).
- Flush or discard any vomitus and/or stool in the toilet and make sure that the surrounding area is kept clean.
Treatment Tips from the CDC
- Get hydrated The vomitting and diarrhea dehydrate you. Drink water, oral rehydration fluids (ORF), or juice. Sports drinks will not work in this case.
- Stay away from people You're contagious from the moment you get the bug until 3 days after.
- If symptoms persist, see a doctor The stomach bug should go away in 24-48 hours. If it doesn't, get medical attention.