If you or someone you know lives in Pennsylvania, than you have probably already heard about this viral stomach bug that’s sweeping through the state. Doctors say they are seeing new cases every day, and that this virus is longer lasting and more intense than usual.

Viral Stomach Bug Spreading Fast

stomach flu, stomach bug, stomach virus, handwashing steps

Doctors in Dauphin, York, and Lancaster counties are warning that this bug spreads quickly and can infect the entire family before you even realize it. (1)

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Carlie Suarez, who works at WellSpan York Hospital, had to call in sick when she was hit with this debilitating stomach flu: “I didn’t even move. I was in my bed, I was exhausted too. I was dehydrated,” she said. “Anything I would put in, it would come right back out.” She spent several days in bed with fatigue, aches, nausea, and GI problems. Four more of her family members also caught the bug.

Rebekah Wickenheiser, a physician assistant at Patient First in Lower Paxton Township explains why this bug is different than others:  “Sometimes the virus, that special strain, is stronger than at other times” she explained. She also noted that the long-lasting nature of the bug leaves people contagious for more than 24 hours, allowing it to spread more readily from person to person.

How to Treat the Stomach Flu and Avoid Getting Sick

While doctors are still unsure of the strain, they warn us that it is very easy to catch and can’t be treated using antibiotics because it is viral, not bacterial.  “It could be on the cart at the grocery store, a door knob, a handrail. It could be anywhere, but it can also be from sharing a drink or eating after a sick person,” Dr. Wickenheiser said.

Tips For Stomach Flu Recovery

If you or a loved one has already caught the virus, follow these steps for the fastest possible recovery and to avoid infecting anyone else:

  • Eat a bland diet: Let Bananas, pudding, rice, and applesauce. Avoid fried or greasy foods.
  • Rest: Rest as much as possible and don’t over exert yourself.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water and some sports drinks to replace electrolytes lost from vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Don’t spread the infection: Stay home to avoid infecting others, and limit/avoid contact with family members.

Tips To Prevent The Stomach Flu

If you have not caught the virus, then these are the steps you can take to avoid becoming ill:

  • Don’t share drinks or food with others, especially those who are or were recently ill.
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially before cooking and eating.
  • Use hand sanitizer when appropriate, and avoid touching public surfaces.
  • Keep your hands away from your face.


Help us spread the word about this rapidly spreading virus and to remind people the importance of proper hand washing!

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