A couple of weeks ago, I had what felt like a long-lasting stomach flu. The rest of my family, around the same general time period, also came down with what felt like the same long-lasting stomach flu.
Thankfully, it likely was a stomach flu, or perhaps a norovirus. I say this because on both rapid tests and PCR tests, my younger brother and I both tested negative for COVID.
Yet, along the way with these stomach bugs, my family learned from our family pharmacist that a lot of people who feel like they have stomach flus actually have the Coronavirus. This is something that a lot of news media doesn’t seem to be covering, so I want to: a) highlight how COVID right now can resemble a stomach flu and b) highlight the injustice about the fact that media isn’t giving more attention to this fact.
North of the border in Canada, there are reports of more patients with the virus whose primary symptoms involve stomach issues, such as vomiting. Back at home here in the United States, the Mount Sinai Health System here in New York reports that COVID-19 may cause stomach flu-like symptoms, even if there are no issues with breathing. Unfortunately I was not able to find statistics on precisely what percentage of COVID cases, particularly with this Omicron variant, have symptoms primarily involving the stomach, but it’s clearly a large enough percentage to get the attention of a large hospital system in New York as well as public broadcasting media in Canada.
And it seems like media is giving little, if any, attention to the fact that COVID could present itself as predominantly (or solely) like a stomach flu. This is unfortunate and unjust because, quite frankly, it is leading a whole population of people (of which I was one) to think that if you have symptoms that resemble a stomach flu, you can just brush things off as a stomach flu. In doing this, a large number of people may end up having COVID and not realize it.
So, I hope media does a better job of covering how the virus can act like a stomach flu. And, in general, I hope that news media really doubles down on making sure the general public is educated on what sorts of symptoms to look out for with this virus, as well as continue to highlight the fact that one can have the virus asymptomatically.
Until then, though, I want all who read this post to realize that if you have what feels like a stomach virus, you should test for Coronavirus, and at that, ideally test with a PCR test (since those are more accurate than at-home tests). Perhaps you have a stomach flu, but perhaps you have COVID-19 instead.
Note: I will not publish a blog post next Monday.