UNITED STATES -- We're in the midst of flu season, but doctors are also reminding people of another type of bug: the norovirus.
The CDC says a new strain of the virus, commonly known as the stomach bug, was the leading cause of virus outbreaks in the U.S. from September to December of last year. Doctors say this year's norovirus has caused a spike in hospitalizations.
We spoke with the Orange County Commissioner of Health to learn more about the virus and how it works. She says it's extremely contagious, even after you're feeling better, and it usually lasts a couple of days.
"Well norovirus is very infectious. You don't need to be exposed to very much of the virus to get sick. And when you get sick it usually happens pretty suddenly. People get severe stomach cramps very often, sudden vomiting and diarrhea, that can last for a day or two. So really the danger is getting dehydrated, not being able to keep up with the amount of fluids you need to take in to compensate for that. And so obviously it's more dangerous for the very young and the very old because they're more susceptible to severe dehydration," said Dr. Jean Hudson, Orange Co. Commissioner of Health.
Each year, one in 15 Americans gets the bug, and unfortunately there's no vaccine for it. In order to stay healthy, Hudson says you should make sure to wash your hands often.