What Is That 24-Hour Bug?

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“24-hour illnesses” are normally caused by noroviruses, which are a type of virus that is responsible for the “stomach flu” and its symptoms. Although they are nicknamed 24 hour illnesses, the illnesses caused by noroviruses can last up to 10 days and require a visit to a local family physician or even the ER in rare cases. Most of the time noroviruses are not serious and may not even require a trip to a family physician.


Symptoms of 24-hour illnesses can vary

The symptoms of a 24-hour illnesses or stomach flu can vary, but they typically include nausea, fever, cramps, diarrhea, fatigue, and vomiting in some combination. If a person has these symptoms for more than 24 hours they should contact their family physician for a diagnosis, or if the symptoms become severe a visit to the emergency room may be necessary. A family physician can determine if the illness may be due to a more serious pathogen than a norovirus, and a family physician can offer advice on symptom treatment.


There is no treatment for the 24-hour flu 

There is currently no effective treatment for the 24-hour flu other than waiting until it passes and treating the symptoms. There is also no vaccine that a family physician can administer, unlike the flu shot which is used for preventing actual influenza. The vast majority of people recover from a norovirus infection within one to three days and don’t need to visit a family physician for treatment. Others may need to visit their local family physician if their symptoms don’t disappear as quickly. The treatment that a family physician would recommend would normally include getting rest and drinking plenty of liquids and sticking to a mainly liquid diet.


You can take steps to prevent a 24 hour illness

You can prevent a norovirus infection by washing your hands often, especially after using the restroom or changing diapers. You should also wash your hands before eating or cooking to avoid spreading a norovirus infection to others. Fruits, oysters and vegetables should be thoroughly washed before eating or cooking, as they can carry noroviruses. Home surfaces that have been contaminated with raw meat or any other germs should be cleaned with bleach as quickly as possible.

Posted by Phoenix Doctor in Family Physician, Flu Season | Permalink |