SHAWNEE, Okla. – An illness is hitting Shawnee hard. It’s just a stomach bug, but it comes on quickly. Problem is, it’s easy to spread.
Patients are piling in St. Anthony’s Emergency Room with the norovirus.
“You’re so worn out you can’t do anything,” said Vicki Millikan.
Millikan knows first hand. Despite her norovirus knowledge, the Infection Prevention Director caught it herself.
“I was feeling fine. I had no problems whatsoever, and like ten minutes later, I just felt like I was deathly ill,” said Millikan. “I felt nauseated. I had abdominal camps, and then you have the diarrhea.”
Dangerous for those with weak immune symptoms, like children.
We caught up with Nurse Amanda Chartney who says that’s concerning because she has a five-month-old at home.
“I don’t want him to get sick and end up in the hospital,” said Chartney.
More than 100 people have been treated in Shawnee emergency rooms in the past week.
Millikan says that’s because norovirus is very contagious.
“They go to the bathroom, and of course have the diarrhea and don’t wash their hands well afterwards,” said Millikan. “So the virus is on their hands and somebody else touches their hands and maybe eats food.”
The virus enters the mouth and the person is infected.
Millikan says your best protection is good hand hygiene.
“Get your hands good and wet, and get your soap. Then you want to scrub, and you want to scrub for at least 15 seconds,” said Millikan. “Then you have your clean hands and you can go take care of someone.”
The good news is this stomach bug is very short lived. Doctors say it lasts two days.