Tuesday, June 18, 2024

What Are Some Symptoms Of Stomach Virus

When To Call Your Doctor

Stomach Flu – Indications and Treatment

If your stomach troubles are due to a GI bug or food poisoning, you usually should feel better within 48 hours. If you dont, call your doctor. It could be a more serious bacterial infection or an early sign of COVID-19. You should also reach out to them immediately if you:

  • Might be severely dehydrated. Signs include dark urine, extreme weakness, a dry mouth and tongue, and dizziness.
  • Have diarrhea that is bloody or black, or severe belly pain
  • Are feverish, coughing, or feel short of breath

American Journal of Gastroenterology: Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with digestive symptoms in Hubei, China: a descriptive, cross-sectional, multicenter study, Digestive Symptoms in COVID-19 Patients with Mild Disease Severity: Clinical Presentation, Stool Viral RNA Testing, and Outcomes. “Stay Healthy: COVID-19 and Gastrointestinal Manifestations

UpToDate: Acute Diarrhea in Adults .

Cleveland Clinic: Moms Advice Is Still the Best for Treating Diarrhea.

CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019: What to Do if You Are Sick.

Pagination

How Does Viral Gastroenteritis Spread

Viral gastroenteritis spreads from person to person through contact with an infected persons stool or vomit.

If you have viral gastroenteritis, viruses will be present in your stool and vomit. You may spread the virus in small bits of stool or vomit, especially if you dont wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and

  • touch surfaces or objects used by other people
  • prepare or serve foods and drinks for other people
  • shake hands with or touch another person

Infected people who do not have symptoms can still spread viruses. For example, norovirus may be found in your stool before you have symptoms and up to 2 weeks after you recover.2

Norovirus is especially contagious, meaning that it spreads easily from person to person. Norovirus can live for months on surfaces such as countertops and changing tables. When an infected person vomits, the virus may become airborne and land on surfaces or on another person.

Viral gastroenteritis may spread in households, day care centers and schools, nursing homes, cruise ships, restaurants, and other places where people gather in groups.

If water comes into contact with stools of infected people, the water may become contaminated with a virus. The contaminated water can spread the virus to foods or drinks, and people who consume these foods or drinks may become infected. People who swim in contaminated water may also become infected.

If Youve Tested Positive

If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19, you must isolate at home and away from others, even if you dont have any symptoms.

If you develop symptoms during your isolation period:

  • continue isolating and
  • follow directions provided by your local public health authority or health care provider

Learn more about:

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How Is The Stomach Flu Spread

Most viral and bacterial causes of the stomach flu can be transfer to other people by direct and indirect contact, usually by the fecal-oral route.

  • Direct contact could involve an infant’s hand touching feces-contaminated surfaces and then touching a sibling or relative indirect contact would be like touching a door knob or railing on a cruise ship or in a dorm that is contaminated and the person touches the contaminated surface and transfers the agent by touching their mouth.
  • Another common way to get stomach flu is drinking or eating contaminated foods and liquids.

How Is Stomach Flu Diagnosed

Preventing Stomach Flu

Healthcare providers often can diagnose stomach flu from your symptoms. But your provider may want to rule out other illnesses with some tests:

  • Stool samples: Tests look for bacteria, viruses or parasites in your stool
  • Sigmoidoscopy: A doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera from the anus into the lower large intestine to look for signs of inflammatory bowel disease. The sigmoidoscopy is a 15-minute procedure that doesnt usually require sedation.

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What Can I Eat With The Stomach Flu

You can eat normally with the stomach flu, which includes formula and breastmilk for babies. You may find that you tolerate a bland diet better while sick with the stomach flu. Some people have worse diarrhea if they consume caffeine, sugary drinks, spicy foods, dairy products, or alcohol. The important thing is to stay hydrated by drinking water, broth, and non-sugary drinks.

Preventing The Stomach Bug

Even though the stomach bug is sometimes called the stomach flu, your annual flu vaccine will not prevent it. Different types of viruses cause the stomach bug. Antibiotics will not help treat the stomach bug because antibiotics work to treat bacterial infections, not viruses.

Take measures to prevent yourself from transmitting the stomach flu to others. Youre typically the most contagious when youre feeling the worst and a few days afterward. The bug can stay in your stool for up to two weeks .

Wash your hands often and stay home from work or school for at least a few days after you feel better.

You should also consider having your baby get the vaccine against the rotavirus when theyre 2 months old.

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Articles On Flu Symptoms & Diagnosis

Sometimes people mistake symptoms of stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, for the viral infection we commonly call “flu.” But theyâre not the same.

Stomach flu happens when your stomach and intestines are inflamed and irritated. Causes range from bacteria, viruses, and parasites to food reactions and unclean water.

The flu comes with symptoms like fever, congestion, muscle aches, and fatigue. The cause is the influenza virus. More severe cases can lead to life-threatening illnesses like pneumonia.

Antibiotics are sometimes used to treat bacterial gastroenteritis, but they don’t work against flu viruses.

Southern Cross Medical Library

Flu Symptoms | Stomach Flu | Paramus NJ

The purpose of the Southern Cross Medical Library is to provide information of a general nature to help you better understand certain medical conditions. Always seek specific medical advice for treatment appropriate to you. This information is not intended to relate specifically to insurance or healthcare services provided by Southern Cross. For more articles go to the Medical Library index page.

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Looking After A Child With Gastroenteritis

You can look after your child at home if they have diarrhoea and vomiting. There’s not usually any specific treatment and your child should start feeling better in a few days.

You don’t normally need to get medical advice unless their symptoms don’t improve or there’s a risk of a more serious problem.

To help ease your child’s symptoms:

  • Encourage them to drink plenty of fluids. They need to replace the fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhoea. Water is generally best. Avoid giving them fizzy drinks or fruit juice, as they can make their diarrhoea worse. Babies should continue to feed as usual, either with breast milk or other milk feeds.
  • Make sure they get plenty of rest.
  • Let your child eat if they’re eating solids and feel hungry. Try small amounts of plain foods, such as soup, rice, pasta and bread.
  • Give them paracetamol if they have an uncomfortable fever or aches and pains. Young children may find liquid paracetamol easier to swallow than tablets.
  • Use special rehydration drinks made from sachets bought from pharmacies if they’re dehydrated. Your GP or pharmacist can advise on how much to give your child. Don’t give them antidiarrhoeal and anti-vomiting medication, unless advised to by your GP or pharmacist.

Make sure you and your child wash your hands regularly while your child is ill and keep them away from school or nursery until at least 48 hours after their symptoms have cleared .

How Long Does Stomach Flu Last

The stomach flu usually lasts less than a week. Be sure to stay home if you have symptoms, and continue to practice good handwashing afterward. The virus can still be in your stool for up to two weeks after youve stopped having symptoms, so be extra careful with your bathroom habits. Always wash your hands after having a bowel movement, and wash any soiled fabrics in hot soapy water.

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Are The Stomach Flu And The Flu The Same Infection

Although both the stomach flu and the flu may be caused by viruses, the viral genus and species are different for each entity.

  • The viruses that cause the majority of stomach flu are Norovirus spp whereas the viruses that cause influenza are mainly Influenza A and B viral spp and subtypes.
  • Stomach flu results mainly in problems with the gastrointestinal tract while influenza involves the respiratory tract. These two problems are not the same thing.

When To Call A Doctor

The Stomach Bug: Coping with the Norovirus

Get medical help if youâre vomiting and canât keep any liquids down for longer than 24 hours, or you have diarrhea for more than a couple of days . Signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness. Other signs that you need medical help include severe pain in your gut or rectum, fever higher than 101 degrees F, stools with blood or pus or black color, or any nervous system problems, like issues with balance, coordination, or numbness.

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Nutrition Fluids And Food

These can ease gastroenteritis symptoms. It may be hard to hold food down, but you can get fluids, calories, vital minerals , and nutrition from fruit juice, sports drinks, caffeine-free soft drinks, or broth. When you feel ready to try solid food, start with bland things like rice, potatoes, bread, applesauce, or bananas. Avoid fatty or sugary foods, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol until youâre better. They may make you feel worse.

Can A Stomach Virus Be Prevented Or Avoided

A flu shot will not prevent a stomach virus. The flu shot only prevent the influenza virus. That is a respiratory illness.

The norovirus can change over time. Therefore, vaccines are still being studied. A rotavirus vaccine is available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends children get a rotavirus vaccine. Two different vaccines exist. They require 2 to 3 doses. Children should receive the full vaccine prior to 8 months of age.

You can help prevent or avoid a stomach virus by doing these things:

  • Wash your hands often.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects in your home, office, and classroom.
  • Use hand sanitizer after being in public.
  • Stay away from people who have the virus.

If you have stomach virus, be responsible. Do not expose others to it. This includes babies, older people, and people with a low immune system. Do not go to school, work, or public places.

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How Can I Get Rid Of Stomach Flu

The most important things you can do to feel better faster are rest and staying well hydrated. Between diarrhea and vomiting, your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes. If your belly is still upset, you can take small, frequent sips of water, sports drinks, juice or broth, or chew on ice chips. It is important to know that water alone may not be enough to keep you hydrated in severe cases of diarrhea so make sure to take in electrolyte balance hydration . Eat a normal diet when you feel hungry again.

Whats The Bottom Line

Medical & Health Questions : Early Signs of a Stomach Virus

The more accurate term for the stomach flu is viral gastroenteritis, because its not related to the influenza viruses that cause the respiratory illnesses we see in fall and winter. There are several types of viruses that can cause viral gastroenteritis. The most common of these is norovirus.

If you have viral gastroenteritis, you may pass the virus on to others when you have symptoms and for a few days after they go away. However, the virus can still be present in your stool for weeks after recovery. For this reason, its important to wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom and before handling food or anything else that will go into your mouth.

Most people recover without seeking medical attention. However, if you experience signs of serious dehydration, blood in your stool, persistent fever, or severe abdominal pain, get medical attention right away.

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How Can I Protect Myself And My Family From Getting Sick With Viral Gastroenteritis

People can reduce their chance of getting infected by frequent hand-washing, prompt disinfection of contaminated surfaces, prompt washing of soiled articles of clothing and avoiding food or water that is thought to be contaminated. Persons who have viral gastroenteritis should not prepare food for other people while they have symptoms and for 48 hours after recovery from illness.

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

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When To Seek Medical Help For Gastroenteritis

Most people with gastroenteritis get better at home without seeing a doctor. But contact your GP if you:

  • are being sick a lot and cant keep down any fluids
  • have blood in your diarrhoea
  • have a high temperature
  • have had diarrhoea for more than 10 days
  • cant control your bowels
  • have signs of dehydration, such as a dry mouth, muscle cramps, peeing very little, sunken eyes, confusion or irritability
  • have recently been abroad
  • have kidney or liver disease
  • have other long-term conditions, such as a weak immune system, diabetes or inflammatory bowel disease
  • dont have someone who can look after you at home and your symptoms are very bad

Its important to seek medical help if you think a child with gastroenteritis is dehydrated. See our FAQ on How can I tell if my child is dehydrated?

Getting Medical Advice For Your Child

7 Home Remedies For a Stomach Virus

You don’t usually need to see your GP if you think your child has gastroenteritis, as it should get better on its own, and taking them to a GP surgery can put others at risk.

Phone the 111 service or your GP if you’re concerned about your child, or they:

  • have symptoms of dehydration, such as passing less urine than normal, being unusually irritable or unresponsive, pale or mottled skin, or cold hands and feet
  • have blood in their poo or green vomit
  • are vomiting constantly and are unable to keep down any fluids or feeds
  • have had diarrhoea for more than a week
  • have been vomiting for three days or more
  • have signs of a more serious illness, such as a high fever , shortness of breath, rapid breathing, a stiff neck, a rash that doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it or a bulging fontanelle
  • have a serious underlying condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a weak immune system, and have diarrhoea and vomiting

Your GP may suggest sending off a sample of your child’s poo to a laboratory to confirm what’s causing their symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed if this shows they have a bacterial infection.

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What To Do At The First Signs Of Stomach Flu

Because diarrhea and vomiting can be dehydrating, you should try to stay hydrated as much as possible, even sipping an oral rehydration drink and water enough to make sure that you are urinating frequently and that your urine is not dark. Follow instructions on the bottle, including restrictions on age. Babies should get breast milk or formula.

At the first signs of stomach flu, you should assume that the cause is infectious and work to prevent the spread of the stomach infection to others. Your stool and vomit may contain viruses for up to two weeks after you recover.

This means thorough handwashing with soap for at least 20 seconds:

  • After using the bathroom
  • After changing diapers of a sick child
  • After touching any stool or vomit or objects touched by the sick person
  • Before preparing any food
  • Before touching any shared objects

People who are actively vomiting or have diarrhea should not go to work, daycare, or school. Babies who still use diapers should not use swimming pools for at least a week after diarrhea resolves.

Clean surfaces that may have come into contact with stool or vomit with a solution of 5 to 25 tablespoons of bleach per 1 gallon of water. Clean any potentially infected clothing or linen with the longest possible laundry cycle and machine dry them.

How Can Stomach Flu Be Prevented

Since stomach flu can be caused by multiple factors, getting the flu vaccination alone isnt enough to protect you from gastroenteritis. Children should follow the standard vaccination schedule and get the rotavirus vaccination when indicated. This vaccination can protect your child from getting sick from the rotovirus but not all children can receive this oral vaccination, so please check with your pediatrician before doing so.

You can take other steps to reduce your risk of getting stomach flu:

Practice good handwashing

When youre sick, the virus spreads from anything that comes in contact with virus-infected feces. Good handwashing is vital in stopping the spread. Viruses left on hands can easily spread to surfaces, food and people you touch. Its important to wash your hands well after you go to the bathroom, change a diaper, touch any bathroom surfaces and before you handle food.

Be careful with food

You can catch stomach flu from contaminated food or water, or pass it on to someone else. To keep viruses out of your food:

Clean sick areas

Clean anything that you may have touched while you were sick with stomach flu. Wash laundry with hot water and dry with high heat. Be sure to use a disinfectant to clean areas where a sick person vomited or had diarrhea.

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