Neosho physicans seeing more cases of stomach flu

Todd G. Higdon

Recently, physicians at St. John’s Neosho MedCenter and Freeman Neosho Clinic have seen cases of stomach flu (gastroenteritis) and other respiratory illnesses.

Gastroenteritis is a condition that causes irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines. An infection may be caused by bacteria or parasites in spoiled food or unclean water. Some foods may irritate your stomach and cause gastroenteritis.

According to St. John’s Neosho MedCenter’s Dr. Steven Younger, of the patients who have come in, “Five to 10 percent of those people seen have had those related illnesses.”

Not only has Dr. Craig Pendergrass, with Freeman Neosho Clinic, seen more cases of gastroenteritis, but even some of his fellow employees have had it.

“I have put more adults into the hospital this year than last year,” Pendergrass said.

Younger stated that in the last few weeks – during the holiday season – there seems to be more involvement while people have been staying at home during the holidays.

That is when families will share their meals and they will be in close contact with each other for several hours at a time.

Doctors state that vomiting, diarrhea and nausea are common symptoms with this stomach “flu.”

“You may or may not have a fever and body aches are common,” Pendergrass said. “It is called the stomach flu because you get that achy feeling like you get with the flu.”

Young and old are particularly affected.

“Children less than 2 years old (are affected), because what will happen is that they will have nausea and vomiting and become dehydrated,” said Younger. “Then the elderly population or people who have chronic illnesses are much more likely to have a prolonged case, end up being in the hospital, because they are not able to respond, they are not able to rebound in the usual 24 to 48 hours.”

Blood in vomit or stool, vomiting more than 48 hours, fever higher than 101 degrees F, swollen abdomen or abdominal pain coming from the right lower side

Another common symptom is dehydration. It includes little to no urination, extreme thirst, lack of tears and dry mouth, also dry diapers in infants.

“Keep the fluids down, clear fluids such as water, electrolytes, Gatorade,” Pendergrass said.


“Hand to mouth is how it is spread,” Younger said. “I would suggest good hand washing after contact.”

“Once they feel better, have them on a BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast).

Those things are good examples of simple carbohydrates, easy to digest, they are not a fattening food, not fried or greasy, and they are really easy for your GI system to break down,” said Pendergrass.

Neosho Daily News