It is a very common for patients to mistake the symptoms of the stomach flu for the seasonal viral infection that we call the "flu". The flu vaccine is directed toward the seasonal flu but will not protect individuals from the stomach flu.
The stomach flu, or viral gastroenteritis, happens when the stomach and intestines get inflamed and irritated by a virus. The symptoms of stomach flu include stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
On the other hand, the seasonal flu comes with symptoms of fever, congestion, muscle aches, and fatigue. The cause of the seasonal flu is the influenza virus.
Viruses cause about half or more of all "stomach flu" gastroenteritis cases in adults and children. Some of them include:
Stomach viruses, like influenza, are very contagious and spread easily. The keys to stopping the spread includes incorporating proper bathroom hygiene and hand washing.
Occasionally, the stomach flu symptoms can be so profound that significant dehydration can occur. When this happens or if there is any blood in the stool immediate medical attention should be sought.
Worrisome signs to watch for in regards to dehydration include:
The key to avoiding dehydration is drink plenty of fluids. There is no rush to eat food. When you can keep food down again, try bland things like toast, rice, bananas, and applesauce first. Go back to a normal diet within 24 hours if you can.
The good news is that the stomach flu usually resolves within a few days.
Patients that have significant abdominal pain, blood in the stool, and dehydration should see their doctor. We are also happy to help at Murdock Health.
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