Flu shot won't protect from norovirus, other viruses



DECATUR -- This time of year, doctors offices are flooded with patients thinking they have the flu.  But some of those signature symptoms could be caused by a completely different virus.

According to doctors, there are many viruses going around that aren't the flu.  That may explain why people are still getting sick, even after getting the flu shot.

Let's say you've been fighting a sore throat, mild fever and runny nose that just won't go away.  All seems like signs of the flu, right?

Think again.

It could be one of many viruses going around right now, says St. Mary's Dr. Jignesh Modi.  Those include rotavirus, norovirus or even just the common cold.

Modi said those viruses can affect patients in different ways.  Flu symptoms come on fast, and include fever, muscle aches and headaches.

However, runny noses and stuffy noses are not symptoms of the flu.  Neither is upset stomach, vomiting and diarrhea.

Instead, said Modi, it's likely caused from catching norovirus -- a highly contagious stomach bug.

"Norovirus is... a community-based virus," said Modi, claiming restaurants, nursing homes and cruise ships are common norovirus hot spots.

Young kids are also at higher risk for getting sick.  But another virus often mistaken for the flu is RSV, a respiratory virus commonly seen in children this time of year.  Modi said RSV's standout symptom is a wheezing cough.

Doctors say the best way to stay healthy is by following every mom's advice -- washing hands and sanitizing everything.


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