SCRANTON -- Emergency rooms are busy. This time of year, there are coughs, colds and of course the stomach bug.
The bug is actually the norovirus, sometimes mistakenly called the stomach flu, and it's highly contagious.
You can be infected any time of year, but it's especially common this time of year and there have been reported outbreaks across the country.
Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the norovirus cases this year seem to be on par with years past, but some doctors are reporting especially severe cases this year.
"I actually had a friend, she put it on Facebook. I won't say her name, but she knows who she is, yeah, she had it really bad and she had it over Christmas, year so I'm just knocking on wood that I don't get it," said Jenelle Ostrowski of Scranton, who was stocking up on cold medicine, lozenges and Vitamin C at a pharmacy in Scranton.
"There's a lot of people around me that have had it, probably everyone in my office as well as small children I know. It's definitely something you want to avoid for sure!” another woman said.
To prevent infection, experts say use some common sense: make sure you wash your hands frequently with soap and water, avoid people who are sick and clean and disinfect possibly contaminated surfaces and if you feel you're getting sick, consult a doctor.
"Contacting people different times, you know shopping and stuff, you put your hands on the cart, I try to wipe it off and everything, you know? So stuff like that and people coughing, it's best to just stay out of crowds,” said Jim Bonner of Springbrook Township.