Maybe you've already had the "stomach bug" experience here in Illinois, and maybe you haven't...yet.

According to reports, stomach flu cases are surging here in Illinois and sending people to the hospital in some instances--all while the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that this bug is "rising in prevalence."

Being medical professionals, they're not throwing around the terms "stomach flu" or "stomach bug," they're calling it "Norovirus."

C'mon dude, find a bathroom! (Getty Images)
C'mon dude, find a bathroom! (Getty Images)

In Early January, Norovirus Tests Were Coming Back At About 8 Percent Positive, Then In February, That Number Doubled And Is Still Climbing

So, what exactly is the norovirus, and how is it different than your regular, run-of-the-mill stomach bug or flu?

Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Anyone can get infected and sick with norovirus. You can get norovirus from:

  • Having direct contact with an infected person
  • Consuming contaminated food or water
  • Touching contaminated surfaces and then putting your unwashed hands in your mouth
Blood sample positive with Norovirus
Getty Images

It would seem that avoiding every other member of the human race, not eating or drinking anything, and refusing to touch any surface whatsoever at any time is probably the best way to completely avoid contracting the norovirus...but turning yourself into a modern-day Howard Hughes might not be for everyone.

Getty Images
That norovirus really messes with your complexion. (Getty Images)

Norovirus Usually Runs Its Course Between November And April, But We're Seeing A Spike In Illinois And The Rest Of The Midwest

Isn't that just like a virus, not knowing when it has completely overstayed its welcome? But, that's exactly what's happening here, and emergency rooms are noticing it.

“We are seeing a lot of people come in with the stomach flu,” said Dr. Evelyn Huang, an emergency room physician at both Northwestern Medicine and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago.

“We're seeing a lot of children, and adults too, who are concerned either because they're immunocompromised, because they've had symptoms for a long time. Typically people will see symptoms around 24 to 48 hours after they've developed the virus and symptoms can last two to three to four days,” Huang said.

Here's what the symptoms of norovirus are:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Stomach Pain
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body Aches

And, here's how you deal with it if it happens to you or someone in your family.

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