What's A Stomach Bug


THE MANY NAMES FOR THE STOMACH BUG🐛

Is it a bug, virus, parasite, or chemical?


🦠The stomach bug is often referred to as the 24 hour stomach flu, food poisoning, or after the infectious organism causing it. In Mesa County, Co rumors🎤 are spreading right now that the current illness sweeping through the Palisade school district is the Noroviruses. However, Mesa County Public Health (MCPH) has not confirmed this and at this time is only releasing that it is behaving like a virus🦠. Even though the CDC (center for disease control) reports noroviruses are the leading cause of foodborne illness, other germs & chemicals could also cause foodborne illnesses. Let’s learn the basics about possible causes, signs & symptoms, prevention, and what to do if sick to help prevent further spread as MCPH does their job.


WHAT IS FOOD POISIONING? Also called foodborne illness is caused by eating contaminated food.


WHAT CAN CONTAMINATE FOOD? Infectious organisms including bacteria, viruses, and parasites or their toxins (their biproducts of reproduction and digestion) can contaminate food and surfaces.


HOW DOES FOOD GET CONTAMINATED? Even the best practices can’t always prevent this, and contamination can happen at any point from growing, harvesting, processing, storing, shipping, or preparing. It can even happen at home when food is improperly handled or cooked.


AVOIDING CROSS-CONTAMINATION IS KEY 🗝! This is the transfer of harmful organisms from one surface to another. Foods most susceptible to this are raw and ready to eat foods such as salads and other produce. Cooking foods thoroughly is the best practice for killing these harmful organisms.


SPREADING IS EASY! Infectious organisms like these spread very quickly and easily often from contaminated foods and surfaces along with infected people to others. When a toilet🚽 is flushed, its particles aerosolize into the area landing on surfaces and contaminating 🧫 them like counter tops, toothbrushes, door handles, and phones📱. Touching these contaminated surfaces then putting unwashed hands in your mouth is the simplest way to spread these organisms 🤢. So close your toilet when flushing, wash your hands, store toothbrushes, and wipe down surfaces. In a public bathroom, after washing your hands, use a paper towel to turn off fucet and open the door.


WHAT ARE THE GENERAL SIGNS & SYMPTOMS REGARDLESS OF THE CAUSE? Symptoms usually occur within hours & can last for hours to days, and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or possible fever. These symptoms will vary depending on the cause and the health and age of the individual.


WHO CAN BE INFECTED? Any and everyone is at risk when a virus starts to spread like this. Whether or not you become ill depends on the organism, the amount of exposure, your age, and your health.

People at the highest risk

  • Older adults: when we get older, our immune systems work a bit slower so it may not respond as quickly or as effectively.

  • Pregnant women: according to the CDC, during pregnancy changes in metabolism and circulation may increase the risk of food poisoning, so your

  • reaction may be more severe. It is rarer, but the baby may also become at risk.

  • Infants & young children: For this group, their immune systems are still developing which puts them at a higher risk. Also, young kids are often in

  • close quarters such as daycares and schools that allow the quick transfer and spreading of any infectious organism.

  • People with chronic diseases: anyone that already has a compromised immune system is at a greater risk.


WHAT ARE THE POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS? The most serious complication with food poisoning is dehydration. Individuals that are vomiting or have diarrhea are losing large amounts of water and electrolytes. It is important to maintain these to prevent dehydration.

Signs & symptoms of dehydration:

  • Excessive thirst

  • Dry mouth

  • Little or no urination

  • Severe weakness

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Extremely dark urine is an indication of becoming dehydrated


IF YOU THINK YOU ARE INFECTED 😷?

  • Stay home, absolutely don’t go to work or send kids to school

  • Stay home for 2 days (48 hrs.) after symptoms have subsided

  • If signs and symptoms are very severe in first 12 hrs. or get worse over the next 24 hrs., see a doctor.

  • During an epidemic like this, it is important to report any cases to the MCPH


WHEN TO SEE A DOCTOR?

  • Frequent episodes of vomiting and inability to keep any liquids down

  • Bloody vomit or diarrhea

  • Diarrhea for more than 3 days

  • Extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping

  • 🤒 Oral temperature above 100.4 F

  • Signs and symptoms of dehydration

  • Blurry vision

  • Muscle weakness and tingling in the arms


BEST PRACTICES FOR PREVENTION OF ANY INFECTIOUS ORGANISM!

  • 🧼Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces often (INCLUDING PHONES)

  • Keep raw🥩 foods separate from ready-to-eat foods🥗

  • Cook foods 🍳at a safe temperature

  • Defrost ❄️food safely

  • When in doubt, throw it out 🗑


WHERE TO FIND RESOURCES? The news 📰 is great, but remember they are also based on ratings. When you want to find serious facts about current health issues click on one of the following links:📍 Mesa County Public Health (or your local area equivilant),📍 CDC,📍 Merck Manual, and📍 Mayo Clinic are all great choices.

Many organisms can cause food poisoning or foodborne illnesses. The following table provided by the CDC provides possible contaminates, possible onset, and common ways it is spread.

Contaminant: Campylobacter

Onset of symptoms: 2 to 5 days

Foods affected and means of transmission: Contamination occurs during processing if animal feces contact meat surfaces. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and contaminated water

Contaminant: Clostridium botulinum

Onset of symptoms: 12 to 72 hours

Foods affected and means of transmission: Home-canned foods with low acidity, improperly canned commercial foods, smoked or salted fish, potatoes baked in aluminum foil, and other foods kept at warm temperatures for too long


Contaminant: Clostridium perfringens

Onset of symptoms: 8 to 16 hours

Foods affected and means of transmission: Meats, stews and gravies. Commonly spread when serving dishes don't keep food hot enough or food is chilled too slowly.

Contaminant: coli (E. coli) O157:H7

Onset of symptoms: 1 to 8 days

Foods affected and means of transmission: Beef contaminated with feces during slaughter. Spread mainly by undercooked ground beef. Other sources include unpasteurized milk and apple cider, alfalfa sprouts, and contaminated water

Contaminant: Giardia lamblia

Onset of symptoms: 1 to 2 weeks

Foods affected and means of transmission: Raw, ready-to-eat produce and contaminated water. Can be spread by an infected food handler.

Contaminant: Hepatitis A

Onset of symptoms: 28 days

Foods affected and means of transmission: Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water. Can be spread by an infected food handler.


Contaminant: Listeria

Onset of symptoms: 9 to 48 hours

Foods affected and means of transmission: Hotdogs, luncheon meats, unpasteurized milk and cheeses, and unwashed raw produce. Can be spread through contaminated soil and water.

Contaminant: Noroviruses (Norwalk-like viruses)

Onset of symptoms: 12 to 48 hours

Foods affected and means of transmission: Raw, ready-to-eat produce and shellfish from contaminated water. Can be spread by an infected food handler.


Contaminant: Rotavirus

Onset of symptoms: 1 to 3 days

Foods affected and means of transmission: Raw, ready-to-eat produce. Can be spread by an infected food handler.

Contaminant: Salmonella

Onset of symptoms: 1 to 3 days

Foods affected and means of transmission: Raw or contaminated meat, poultry, milk, or egg yolks. Survives inadequate cooking. Can be spread by knives, cutting surfaces or an infected food handler.


Contaminant: Shigella

Onset of symptoms: 24 to 48 hours

Foods affected and means of transmission: Seafood and raw, ready-to-eat produce. Can be spread by an infected food handler.


Contaminant: Staphylococcus aureus

Onset of symptoms: 1 to 6 hours

Foods affected and means of transmission: Meats and prepared salads, cream sauces, and cream-filled pastries. Can be spread by hand contact, coughing and sneezing


Contaminant: Vibrio vulnificus

Onset of symptoms: 1 to 7 days

Foods affected and means of transmission: Raw oysters and raw or undercooked mussels, clams, and whole scallops. Can be spread through contaminated seawater.


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