MADISON, WI (Spectrum News 1) -- Norovirus is making its way through Wisconsin.
The virus, commonly referred to as the stomach flu despite it not technically being the flu, makes people vomit and have diarrhea for up to two days.
“Most people recover on their own, it's pretty unpleasant for that 24 to 48 hours, but people get better,” said Amanda Kita-Yarbro with Public Health Madison and Dane County. “But a few people do require, they get dehydrated and need some medical care.”
Several hospitals and clinics across the state are reporting increases in people with the symptoms. SSM Health says they've seen an uptick across their whole system including Madison, Janesville and Baraboo. The Mayo Clinic in La Crosse and Eau Claire has seen an increase over the past few weeks. HSHS Sacred Heart in Eau Claire has as well. Prevea Health in Green Bay has seen some cases over the past week.
The virus is easily spread from person to person. An effective way of keeping it from spreading is limiting your exposure to others if you have it.
“Stay at home from work for 12 to 48 hours after you are at the end of your symptoms because it can be contagious for that long,” said Diana Flint, a family doctor with SSM Health.
Doctors recommend you make sure you are getting fluids to prevent dehydration, but people infected don't necessarily need to visit a clinic or hospital.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t recommend routine testing for the virus unless diarrhea has been present for multiple days,” said Joseph Williams a doctor with the HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital emergency department.
Cases increase this time of year and especially around the holiday. Doctors say the best defense is simply washing your hands frequently.
“People need to be vigilant with hand hygiene and food handling safety,” said Mohamed Adawee, R.N., Regional Supervisor Infection Prevention and Control for Mayo Clinic Health System in northwest Wisconsin.
An Ascention Wisconsin spokesperson said they have not seen an increase above what is normal at their facilities in Milwaukee.