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Ask Doctor Cory.

Dear Dr. Cory:

Just wondering if you know how long a stomach virus lasts, and is it contagious? I had a stomach virus on Sunday and Monday. I felt like I was going to throw up and was very hot. What could it have been besides a virus?
Taylor Carter
Richmond, Virginia


Dear Dr. Cory:

I am in third grade. We have been learning about the body. I have a question for you: What makes your stomach hurt?
Kristen
Stocks Elementary School
Tarboro, North Carolina


Dear Dr. Cory:

I love your magazine. I wish you would write about why we get stomachaches. I get them a lot, and I need to know about it.
Daniela Elishayev
Forest Hills, New York


Dear Taylor, Kristen, and Daniela:

Lots of questions about the stomach!

Most cases of stomach flu, or gastroenteritis (gas-troh-en-ter-EYE-tis), are caused by viruses. They can last a couple of days or up to a week and can be very contagious.

Stomach illnesses can also be caused by bacteria like Salmonella (sal-mon-ELL-uh) or E. coli, or by parasites like giardia (jee-ARE-dee-uh). All these tiny organisms produce chemicals that upset your stomach, which sends a message to the brain to get them out right away. Your brain then puts the vomit reflex in motion.

Unclean water, improperly prepared foods like meat, chicken, eggs, milk, or apple cider can all cause stomach illnesses. Or, failure to wash hands after going to the bathroom and before handling food can pass the diseases along. Food handling utensils must be clean, too. Remember to wash and cook thoroughly to avoid stomach disorders.

Note the Bloat

Many things can cause stomachache, from viruses to bacteria to food allergies to stress. You can help your doctor track the cause by providing plenty of information.

Did you have any gas, cramping, bloating, or diarrhea with your stomachache? Did it come on after you had any certain foods? Was it accompanied by a headache, rash, or swelling?

Dear Dr. Cory:

I'm doing fine. I was wondering how many times you can have chickenpox. I've had it two times.
Justin Wicklum
Stocks Elementary School
Tarboro, North Carolina


Dear Justin:

Rarely does anyone get chickenpox twice. It is caused by a virus, so once you have had it, you usually don't get it again. Sometimes, similar rashes make people think they had chickenpox more than once.

Parents are being encouraged to have their children vaccinated against chickenpox because of the very serious complications the disease can cause.

Children can get the vaccine at any visit to their doctor on or after their first birthday. Any child 13 or older who has not had chickenpox or been immunized (vaccinated), should receive two doses of the vaccine at least four weeks apart.

Sincerely,

Cory SerVaas, M.D.

Send your health questions to: "Ask Doctor Cory," U*S*Kids, P.O. Box 567, Indianapolis, IN 46206. Or, e-mail your questions to: askdrcory@uskidsmag.org

This column does not replace your doctor's advice.

Parents: Get your FREE Family Fun and Fitness e-newsletter each month for family health and kids activities. Find out more and sign up at www.cbhi.org/family.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Children's Better Health Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:stomach upsets and pain and information about chickenpox
Author:SerVaas, Cory
Publication:U.S. Kids
Date:Dec 1, 2002
Words:525
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