LIVERPOOL, NY (WSYR-TV) -Dr. Michael Schiano has been busy at North Medical Urgent Care, seeing more patients than usual.
"Mainly a viral gastroenteritis has been coming into the urgent care centers," said Schiano. "We've had a 20-25 percent increase."
Viral gastroenteritis, also known as the "stomach flu" should not be confused with true influenza. Your flu vaccination won't help because they are different viruses.
You can catch the stomach bug through close contact and drinking or eating food that has been contaminated. LPN Tiffany Labonoski said North Medical Center's Liverpool Urgent Care off saw 6-8 patients Sunday morning.
"None of us wash our hands enough, so we're all sharing," said Labonoski.
Nurses are spreading the message that hand washing is the best defense. The stomach flu tends to appear with small outbreaks, lasting 2-5 days. Symptoms include nausea, fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Even the staff at North Medical Urgent Care battled the virus a few weeks ago.
"In the Upstate New York area, we do have some information that it has been increased everywhere from Buffalo to Albany," said Dr. Schiano.
Without rest, your immunity weakens. Since antibiotics wouldn't work in treating a gastroenteritis virus, the doctor says plenty of fluids and sleep are crucial for self-recovery.
While stomach bug cases increase, there is better news on the influenza front. Local doctors have seen very few cases of true influenza this year. So far, the vaccine mix seems to be effectively fighting the flu strains that were anticipated this year.
Doctor Schiano also said the mild winter may have prevented influenza cases as people aren't spending so much time in closed quarters this season.
The flu is more likely to spread when people stay inside in close contact. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control is calling this the latest start to the influenza season in 25 years.