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How do you know if there is a stomach virus going around?

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There is always a stomach virus going around because gastroenteritis, a contagious inflammation of the intestinal tract commonly caused by viruses, is prevalent throughout the year, according to Dr. Diana Koelliker of Telluride Medical Center. As the viruses that cause gastroenteritis are highly contagious, utilizing good hygiene practices, including frequent hand washing and not sharing eating utensils, are the best way to prevent sickness.

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Symptoms of gastroenteritis include nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramping and vomiting. A fever also sometimes occurs, according to Dr. Koelliker. Although gastroenteritis is often referred to as a "stomach flu," the influenza virus is not one of its causes. Viruses that can result in the development of gastroenteritis include rotovirus, norovirus and adenovirus. Another common misconception is that food poisoning is to blame for many cases of gastroenteritis; in truth, only a minority of cases are food related.

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