Stomach Bug in Alberton – Covid Risks

Stomach Bug in Alberton – Covid Risks

A Stomach bug is currently doing the rounds in Alberton and people are concerned that some of the symptoms could be indicative of the coronavirus.  Dr Morgan Mkhatshwa, the Head of Operations at Bonitas Medical Aid, said that there are certain important symptoms that would indicate whether you have a stomach virus, or the coronavirus.  Unfortunately, there are also symptoms that are typical for both viruses such as diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting.

“Though the period between November and May are usually marked by more cases of diarrhoea and anemia, there was a 29% decrease in cases this year.  The decrease is most likely due to increased vigilance when it comes to personal hygiene due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  People are more prone to wash their hands, wear face masks and frequent sanitisation,” said Mkhatshwa.

Symptoms of a stomach bug:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Stomach Cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Painful joints
  • Headaches
  • General Malaise


Symptoms of a stomach virus will appear between 24 and 72 hours from contact.  Symptoms will vary in severity for each person, but usually improves after 3-4 days.  It is important to note however that symptoms could last up to a week.

Covid-19 or Stomach Bug?

Studies have shown that up to 10% of adults with the coronavirus experience gastrointestinal symptoms that are typically associated with a stomach virus.  This includes cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.  Covid-19 patients will however have other symptoms including respiratory difficulties like coughing and shortness of breath.  The new SARS-CoV-2 virus does however affect both the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts.

Though it is not necessarily easy to distinguish between the symptoms of the two viruses, a common warning sign of Covid would be the loss of smell and taste.  The Coronavirus will also last considerably longer than a common stomach bug.

Dr Mkhatshwa urges all patients with symptoms that could indicate both the coronavirus and a stomach virus, should see their doctor immediately to be tested.

How to deal with a stomach bug:

  • Avoid all solid foods including, dairy products, meat, fats and sugars.
  • Take frequent sips of water or suck on ice cubes to prevent dehidration.
  • Avoid carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices.
  • When your symptoms improve, start eating small portions of easily digestable food such as dry toast or rice.
  • Only use medication prescribed by a medical professional.  Some over the counter medications could worsen the infection.





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