I'm Dr. Ryan Stanton and its time to find out what's going around this week.
This time of the year is big for the flu, but it's also a big time for GI illnesses that include combinations of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
There is nothing unusual and a transition to Norovirus is very common once we start to get towards the end of flu season. In actuality, there is almost always some form of viral gastroenteritis or food related Gi illness going around. Most are self-limiting and nothing more than an annoyance to healthy folks.
Unfortunately, the fluid shifts and dehydration associated with the illnesses can wreak havoc on people with other chronic diseases, especially hypertension and diabetes. These diseases or their treatments are very sensitive or prone to dehydration. These illnesses also put the kidneys at risk with dehydration.
Typically, the body is able to compensate, but the medications for hypertension and diabetes in general make this accommodation and response difficult. As a result, we are seeing the complications of the dehydration with potential kidney damage and the effects of medications that aren't being cleared as well.
We have patients with kidney disease, dizziness, syncope, low blood pressure, and slow heart rate. Depending on the diseases and medications, the symptoms can be wide-ranging and potentially very dangerous.
The key is hydration. It is very important to drink plenty of nonalcoholic, non-caffeinated fluids throughout the illness. I see many cut back all together because it "goes right through them". This is because of the gastrocolic reflex, but it's key to persist and continue to drink fluids as tolerated.
If concerned or unable to tolerate fluids, get checked out by your doctor. If there are concerning symptoms, you need need to get evaluated in the ED. With good support, most of these will resolve in a few days, up to a week. You can join the conversation on Facebook at our StantonMD page and @everydaymed on Twitter.
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