Watch out for 2 very contagious illnesses: Strep throat, stomach flu

What's Going Around

By Melanie Lawson - The Morning Show anchor

JACKSONVILLE, Fla - Rarely do all the local doctors we talk with each week say the same thing is going around but this week that's the case.  Strep throat will send you running to the doctor.

Doctors at Healing Arts Urgent Care in St. Johns County say this past Saturday three of the four patients who came in were all diagnosed with Strep Throat.  Sinusitis, bronchitis, a few cases of the flu, and allergies are also going around in St. Johns County.

In Clay County at the CareSpot in Middleburg they're treating sinus infections, bronchitis, strep throat, and a few cases of the flu.

Finally in Nassau County at the CareSpot in Yulee they're treating strep throat, colds, and again just a few cases of the flu.

The other illness that's going around is stomach flu.  It's miserable, spreads like wildfire, and always runs rampant in the winter time.  Dr. Vandana Bhide with Mayo Clinic says this year is no exception and it actually seems to be a little worse this season.

"We always see it in the winter season when people are indoors they are around each other. We are seeing a lot of vomiting we're seeing a lot of diarrhea and no specific virus is causing it, or bacteria but we're just really seeing it going around in the community," says Bhide.

Gastroenteritis or stomach flu can send you running to the bathroom. It typically lasts 24 to 48 hours but in that time it can do a lot of damage to your body.  When your body is purging the last thing you probably want to do it drink something but Dr. Bhide said you should at least try.

"So any kind of liquid you know.  I think at this point whatever you can tolerate. Sometimes apple juice and some kinds of juices can make diarrhea worse, so I usually say avoid apple juice even water," says Bhide.

Dr Bhide suggests a sports drink not an energy drink but something with electrolytes and sugar. Drink just a little at a time because your goal is to keep it down.

"Especially kids can get very, very dehydrated.  It can be a challenge when you have so much throwing up and so much diarrhea that you can keep up with your fluid intake," says Bhide.

When you start to feel better re-introduce food slowly.  Doctors suggest the BRAT diet.  Bananas, rice, apples and toast for a day or two before you return to your regular diet.  If you're trying to avoid it Dr. Bhide says you will need some water and soap.

"I think its such frequent hand washing that we forget. But especially washing your hands before you eat and washing your hands after you go to the bathroom before you do anything else so that it's not spread because like most viruses you can be infectious before you get sick and that I think that is what's so frustrating," says Bhide.

 If dehydration occurs, the patient should be evaluated by a doctor.  Many health care professionals choose to begin IV fluids, it's the treatment of choice for rapid re-hydration.

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