A stomach virus is forcing children to spend their winter break in bed. Young patients in neighbourhood clinics have doubled over the past three weeks, with vomiting and diarrhoea being the most common symptoms. The virus being blamed for the current outbreak is Norovirus, which is commonly known as stomach flu.
The stomach virus accounts for 20 per cent of the caseload in the OPDs in major hospitals. “Over the past two weeks, every fifth child is reporting with symptoms of stomach flu. The symptoms may also include nausea, stomach cramping, running nose, mild fever, bodyache and tiredness,” says Dr Subhash Arya, director, Centre for Child Health, Ganga Ram Hospital.
Three-year-old Aditi Jha is one such child. “We had to cancel our holiday in Jodhpur because she was sick all through the weekend. It’s impossible to book hotel rooms again at such a short notice, so I guess we will all stay home this season,” says her mother Smriti Jha.
It is a seasonal illness that typically peaks during the winter months and lasts three to five days. “There is no specific treatment for stomach viruses and there is certainly no need to give antibiotics. Patients with diarrheoa or vomiting only need to be given plenty of fluids,” says Dr Arun Wadhwa, who runs a clinic in Greater Kailash II.