Dr. Amy Lacroix in Midtown says of her many patients in the UNMC Physicians Pediatric Clinic have viral Gastroenteritis --otherwise known as the Stomach Flu. The main symptoms include vomiting and diarrhea. Those affected may also have a headache, fever and abdominal cramps. These symptoms could last up to 10 days, depending on the severity of the infection. The most important aspect of treating Viral Gastroenteritis is to prevent dehydration. If your child is vomiting, wait at least 4 hours before offering liquid and do not force food and water. Instead, encourage small sips of water throughout the day. Oral rehydration solutions like Pedialyte may be used to rehydrate those affected with viral gastroenteritis. If your child is not able to drink or eat anything without vomiting for an extended period of time or has blood in his or her stool, you should see your doctor.
Dr. Carey Ertz says the Stomach Flu is going around in Millard, too. She says medications to stop diarrhea are not generally recommended, but hand washing is.
She also reminds parents to avoid food sharing and sharing cups and utensils. In most cases, Gastroenteritis is contagious. So children should be fever-free for 24-hours and symptoms resolved before they return back to school.
Dr. Robert Beer in West Omaha says Influenza season is upon us. Health agencies, including the Douglas County Health Department and Nebraska State Health Department, are reporting a scattering of confirmed cases of Influenza A. Dr. Beer confirmed another case in his office this week. This serves as a reminder to get immunized. The Center for Disease Control recommends Influenza vaccine for nearly everyone over age 6 months. Widespread immunization not only protects those immunized, but reduces the number of flu cases. So, even those who don't get vaccinated, benefit, since there are fewer flu suffers from whom to get the flu. There are several options this year, including the traditional flu shot plus nasal FluMist and a new "tiny" needle, intradermal vaccine administered just under the skin. There is, also, a high-dose vaccine to better protect those over 65 years of age. Symptoms include sudden onset of severe malaise and fatigue accompanied by fever ( greater than 100.4) and sore throat or cough. If you or your child have these, especially when there have been a lot of Influenza cases reported, see a doctor right away. Although rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain medications remain the primary care measures, Tamiflu or other anti-viral meds may be indicated to reduce the severity of symptoms and shorten the course of the illness, if diagnosis is made within 24-36 hours of the onset of symptoms, These agents can also be given to household members and other close contacts to reduce their chance of contracting the flu from the flu patient.