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How Long Can Stomach Flu Last

What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better

How Long Does the Stomach Flu Last?

Get plenty of rest and keep drinking lots of liquids until your symptoms pass. Drinks that have both sugar and salt help your intestine absorb fluids better and replace the lost electrolytes. Nibbling salty crackers along with ginger ale or a similar sweet drink could also help. Avoid dairy products like cows milk for one or two days milk can make diarrhea worse due to temporary lactose intolerance that often come with gastroenteritis.

To control severe diarrhea, your healthcare provider may recommend an over-the-counter medication such bismuth subsalicylate . You shouldnt use these medicines if you have a high fever or bloody diarrhea, which can be signs of deeper infection from bacteria or a parasite. Antidiarrheal medications arent safe for children to use. Instead, see your healthcare provider for treatment.

Nearly everyone gets a bout of stomach flu at some point. Its not pleasant, but it usually passes in less than a week. Give yourself time to rest and recover before you go back to your daily activities. Fortunately you can take steps to avoid the likelihood of passing it on to others or picking it up again in the future.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/26/2020.


Symptoms In Infants And Children

Seek medical help immediately if your child has the following:

  • Fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Irritable and lethargic
  • In a lot of distress and pain
  • Has diarrhea with blood in it
  • Dehydration

Spitting up is normal for children, but vomiting is not. It could be due to a reason that may require urgent medical help.

Note the following signs and symptoms in your child and call the doctor:

  • Recurrent vomiting for several hours
  • Has not wet his or her diaper in six hours
  • Has a blood-stained stool or frequent diarrhea
  • A sunken fontanel
  • Dry mouth or no tears produced when crying
  • Unusually sleepy or unresponsive

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For Infants And Children

If your child shows the following signs, take him to the doctor.

  • Feels dehydrated
  • Is in pain and discomfort
  • Has a fever higher than 102F
  • Is lethargic and irritable

If you have a baby and he vomits quite often, then visit your doctor. Babies suffering from stomach flu may show these symptoms:

  • Vomiting that lasts for several hours
  • Has blood in the poop
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Dry mouth or cries without tears
  • Is drowsy, unresponsive or sleepy
  • Has fontanel on the top of the head
  • Hasnt had a wet diaper in six hours

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Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A& e If You Or Your Child:

  • vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
  • have green or yellow-green vomit
  • might have swallowed something poisonous
  • have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
  • have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache
Severe pain:
  • always there and so bad it’s hard to think or talk
  • you cannot sleep
  • it’s very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
Moderate pain:
  • makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
  • you can manage to get up, wash or dress
Mild pain:

Will A Bacterial Stomach Infection Cure Itself

stages of the stomach flu

Bacterial gastroenteritis will often clear up on its own without any treatment. However, vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, so it is important to stay hydrated. This is usually possible to achieve at home by drinking plenty of fluids, especially water.

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When Should I Call My Healthcare Provider

Viral gastroenteritis is common in children and adults. In most cases, the disease is not serious and will run its course in a few days. Call your healthcare provider if you or a family member has vomiting or diarrhea thats not getting better, if you see blood or tar-like stool, or if you have any signs of dehydration.

Treatment Of Stomach Flu

Stomach flu is caused by commonly available viruses and germs in our surroundings, thus it can be treated in common and easy ways. But the infectant needs to realize and take the treatments on time any incomprehension can cause impairment.


While having stomach infection we need to let our bowels settle down. Resting bowels i.e. giving it a holiday from digestion working can help to treat the infection. As the virus disorganizes the whole digestion system it needs rest from heavy indigestions. One should take more liquid than solid foods. As the liquid is easily digestible.


Due to diarrhea and vomiting, the body loses a lot of water which leads to dehydration causing the virus to affect the body even adversely. Thus, keeping the body hydrated is very important. Hydration helps in the expansion of contracted muscles and gives relief from pain and nausea. One should avoid having too much water or glucose in one sip rather should take little sips in good gaps.


An adequate amount of resting helps the body to recover from the harms done by the virus. Sleeping well not only lets the muscle relax from the contraction caused by continuous pain but also the least energy consumption helps the antibodies to fight against the virus easily.


These are some common treatment steps that can be taken by the patient to fight against the infection.

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Can Stomach Flu Be Prevented

Yes, there are some things you can do to help prevent getting or spreading stomach flu such as:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus
  • Cover your mouth and nose with your elbow, sleeve, or a tissue when you cough or sneeze then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Make sure your child gets the rotavirus gastroenteritis vaccine
  • Use separate towels in the bathroom from your housemates and use separate dishes and utensils if possible
  • Do not touch the laundry of someone sick with gastroenteritis or use gloves to handle the laundry if you must touch it
  • Make sure any daycare or child care center has a separate room for changing diapers and that it is not in the same room as where food is prepared
  • When preparing food, wash all vegetables and be certain to cook any shellfish thoroughly, and do not prepare food for others if you have gastroenteritis

If you travel abroad to an underdeveloped country only drink bottled water and do not drink the water contaminated drinking water from the faucet or ice cubes made from faucet water, brush your teeth with bottled water, avoid raw vegetables, fruits, and shellfish, and also avoid undercooked proteins such as meat or seafood.

Whatsymptoms To Watch For

How Long Does the Stomach Flu Last?

Post-infectious IBS is a constellation of symptoms that resemble irritable bowel syndrome, Dr. Kirsh says.

Symptoms are usually lesssevere than the original infection and may include:

Overtime people do tend to get better, he says. For most of them, this is notgoing to be lifelong IBS.

The symptoms of post-infectious IBS develop after an infectious GI bug such as viral gastroenteritis or a bacterial infection like E. coli or Salmonella or even C. difficile. Patients may suspect this condition if they had a documented GI infection that resolved, but their digestive function wont go back to normal. That should tip them off that they should seek out help.

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How Can I Make My Dog Feel Better After Vomiting

Treatment For Vomiting Dogs if it is a single vomit, withhold food for at least 6 hours. if the vomiting stops, small bland food meals can be introduced. gradually increase the amount of water. after 6 hours without vomiting, give your dog small amounts of a bland low-fat food several times a day for a few days.

Children And Vaccination For Rotavirus

Rotavirus is a virus that causes severe gastroenteritis in babies and young children. All young children should receive the rotavirus vaccine at 6 weeks and 4 months of age. A third dose at 6 months may be needed depending on the brand of vaccine used.

This vaccine is effective in preventing the rotavirus infection in about 7 out of every 10 children vaccinated. It is also effective in preventing severe gastroenteritis in about 9 out of every 10 infants vaccinated. The vaccine provides protection for up to 5 years.

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How Is It Spread

Noroviruses are very contagious. They are found in the stool or vomit of infected people. From there, noroviruses are transferred to food, water, or surfaces by the hands of infected people who have not washed adequately after using the bathroom.

People become infected with norovirus by:

  • Eating food or drinking liquids contaminated by an infected person.
  • Eating uncooked shellfish that has been harvested from contaminated waters.
  • Touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their mouth or eating without washing their hands first.

How To Prevent The Spread Of Stomach Flu Viruses

How Long Does the Stomach Flu Last?
  • Wash your hands thoroughly. This is particularly important after youve used the restroom and if you have diarrhea or vomiting.
  • Stay home. Plan to stay home from work or school for at least 2 days after your symptoms have subsided.
  • Keep your distance. Avoid coming into contact with people who are at an increased risk of serious illness. This includes babies, older adults, and people with a weakened immune system.
  • Dont share. Avoid sharing items such as eating utensils, drinking glasses, phones, or towels while youre sick and for several days after your symptoms have subsided.
  • Avoid handling food. Try not to handle or prepare food while youre sick and

Since a virus causes stomach flu, medications such as antibiotics dont help to treat it. Typically, most people with stomach flu recover from their illness without having to seek medical treatment.

The following home remedies can help ease the symptoms of stomach flu and prevent more serious illness.

  • severe abdominal pain
  • symptoms that dont get better, or begin to get worse after several days of at-home care
  • symptoms of stomach flu that occur in an infant, older adult, or individual with an underlying health condition

Medical treatment involves managing your symptoms and promoting hydration. You may be given intravenous fluids to help replace lost fluids and electrolytes.

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When Should I Worry About Dog Vomiting

If your dog vomits more than once, or has recurring bouts of vomiting, you need to call your vet immediately. Vomiting is a symptom of many serious diseases, illnesses, and complications, and as owners we owe it to our dogs to take it seriously. Ignoring your dogs vomiting could have serious, even fatal consequences.

Learn How Long You Should Stay Home

If you or your child has the stomach flu, you may wonder how long it’s contagious. Do you need to stay home once vomiting and diarrhea go away, or can you still spread the illness?

This article looks at how long stomach flu is contagious, how long you should stay home with it, and how you might be able to speed up your recovery.

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What Is The Stomach Flu

Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is an infection caused by a virus that infects your stomach. Although the term has flu in it, it is not a true flu. You may experience the following symptoms

If you come in contact with an infected person, ingest contaminated food or water or share your personal items such as plates and toothbrushes, you are likely to contract a stomach virus.

If you are otherwise healthy, you will probably recover without complications.

Although it is often called stomach flu, it is not caused by influenzaviruses. Stomach flu is caused by various viruses including

  • Noroviruses: This is the most common cause of foodborne illness in both children and adults worldwide. It can spread through families and communities. It is likely to spread among people who live in confined spaces. Mostly, you pick up the virus from contaminated food or water, although person-to-person transmission is also possible.
  • Rotaviruses: This is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in children and babies who put their fingers and other contaminated objects in their mouths. The infection is most severe in newborn babies and children. Adults infected with rotavirus may not show any symptoms however, they still can spread the infection.

Some shellfish, especially raw or undercooked oysters, may also make you sick. In many cases, the virus is passed through the fecal-oral route.

How Long Does Stomach Flu Last

Mayo Clinic Minute: What is ‘stomach flu?

Stomach flu lasts for about 1 to 3 days but in the worst case, it can last for 10 days also. In some cases, the vomiting can stop within 24 hours if not then visit your doctor.

But lingering diarrhea can last for days. It can become dangerous for toddlers, children, babies and elders if it changes to dehydration and is not treated on time.

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When Should I Call The Doctor

  • cant drink for several hours
  • is peeing less often
  • has signs of dehydration, such as crying with few or no tears, having a dry mouth or cracked lips, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, acting very sleepy or less alert
  • has a high fever
  • has blood in their poop or vomit
  • is vomiting for more than 24 hours or the diarrhea doesnt get better after several days

What Are The Symptoms

Common symptoms of norovirus infection include vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramping. Less common symptoms can include low-grade fever or chills, headache, and muscle aches. Symptoms usually begin 1 or 2 days after ingesting the virus, but may appear as early as 12 hours after exposure. The illness typically comes on suddenly. The infected person may feel very sick and vomit often, sometimes without warning, many times a day. Sometimes people infected with norovirus have no symptoms at all, but can still pass the virus to others.

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Which Specialties Of Doctors Treat The Stomach Flu

Most individuals with viral or mild bacterial caused gastroenteritis require no treatment or can be treated by the patient’s primary care provider or pediatrician. For more patients with more severe gastroenteritis, such infectious disease specialists, gastroenterologists, emergency medicine specialists, allergists, critical care physicians, and hematologists may be consulted.

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The Best Treatment Is To Take Steps To Prevent Illness

stages of the stomach flu

Few common illnesses are more unpleasant than the flu. The aches and pains, chills, fever, and cough are bad enough add in the other potential symptoms of flu, including runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, or sore throat, and youll want the illness to be over as soon as possible. How long does the flu last? And does treating flu help make it go away faster? The answers depend on your particular health.

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Can You Prevent The Stomach Flu And/or Rotavirus

Obviously, you want to keep your family from getting sick. “It only takes a few virus particles to infect someone, and there are billions in just a drop of vomit or diarrhea,” says Aron Hall, a researcher for at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Viral Diseases, in Atlanta. However, you can take steps to prevent a full-scale invasion.

Get vaccinated. Your baby will get two or three doses of the rotavirus vaccine , which protects against 85 to 98 percent of severe rotavirus illness. However, there is no vaccine against norovirus.

The vaccine only prevents the four most common strains, so kids who have been vaccinated can still catch different types of rotavirus or other bugs that cause stomach flu. However, symptoms will likely be less severe in children who’ve been vaccinated, says Stanley Cohen, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children’s Center for Digestive Health Care in Atlanta, Georgia.

Wash your hands. “We can’t stress enough how important hand-washing is,” says Dr. Cohen. For a thorough scrub, use soap and warm water and rub your hands together for at least 15 to 20 seconds this helps prevent passing germs around your family.

What Is The Prognosis For The Stomach Flu

The prognosis for complete recovery is excellent in most people infected with viral and bacterial caused gastroenteritis, as long as the person keeps well hydrated. Because infants, children, pregnant women, and adults that are elderly or immunosuppressed, usually dehydrate faster than healthy adults and sometimes are more difficult to rehydrate orally, their prognosis can range from excellent to poor. Their prognosis depends on how dehydrated they become and how effective are the attempts to rehydrate the patient.

The prognosis for those patients that develop gastroenteritis symptoms as part of a specific disease process vary from good to poor, depending on the severity of the specific disease process.

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