What's Going Around: Influenza & Gastroenteritis - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

What's Going Around: Influenza & Gastroenteritis

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Illnesses are putting whole families out of commission with the flu and gastroenteritis going around.

Dr. Kathryn Cahill with UnityPoint Health - Meriter's West Washington Clinic says those two things are often confused, but they are not the same thing.

With the flu (influenza) you will feel feverish, have chills, a cough, body aches and fatigue. Most people do not have vomiting or diarrhea with the flu. She says to see a doctor if you have trouble breathing, a fever with a rash, dehydration, are excessively fatigued or symptoms leave but then return and are worse with a fever and cough.

Gastroenteritis is a stomach bug that includes vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea and a headache. See a doctor if you have dehydration (look for dry skin, dry mouth or dry diapers), a high fever, vomiting for more than two days, blood in the vomit or stool or if you can't keep liquids down for 24 hours.

Dr. Cahill suggests getting a flu shot to prevent influenza. Also - keep those hands clean with soap and water. 

Both the flu and gastroenteritis are very contagious and can spread to the whole family. Dr. Cahill says medicines aren't very helpful in either case, but a probiotic may help with a stomach bug. 

She suggests for both, get plenty or rest and fluids - and stay home from school or work until you're better.

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