Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Facts on 'Hideous Stomach Thing' ; EVANSVILLE'S DR. BETSY

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Facts on 'Hideous Stomach Thing' ; EVANSVILLE'S DR. BETSY

Article excerpt

The list of medical topics is almost endless, ranging from relatively common conditions such as asthma to the fortunately rare illnesses like zygomycosis (an infection caused by a soil fungus), with a whole alphabet of ailments in between. Sometimes, when I sit down to write this article, I look at the diseases populating the office waiting room for ideas. Sometimes I check the news for the latest "ripped from the headlines" research findings, and sometimes I choose an esoteric but hopefully interesting topic that just happened to pop into my head.

Sometimes, however, like Dorothy in the "Wizard of Oz," I don't have to look any farther than my own backyard for subject material.

Technically, it's more like the next room than a backyard, and unlike Dorothy's search, watching my child vomit is not exactly my "heart's desire."

Like all mothers comforting a sick child at midnight, my thoughts turned to this crummy stomach bug that was knocking him for a loop, and what I could do to make him feel better.

While there are lots of reasons children vomit, the most common cause is viral gastroenteritis, otherwise known as the stomach bug. Although many of us informally refer to it as the stomach flu, it actually has nothing to do with the influenza virus and really doesn't deserve to be called flu.

Those of you who know me know I loathe this illness and tend to refer to it as "that hideous stomach thing," but that terminology hasn't really caught on.

There are multiple different organisms that cause viral gastroenteritis, including rotavirus - which is especially common in babies and very young children - adenovirus, astrovirus, and the most common offender, norovirus. Outbreaks of norovirus occur year round, but most cases are seen in the winter months. A relatively new strain of the particularly contagious norovirus from Sydney, Australia, is currently making the rounds.

(Darn those Australians with their intriguing accents, adorable koala bears and highly transmissible viruses.)

Viral gastroenteritis typically presents with nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever, followed by diarrhea. …

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