When To Call A Doctor
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.
How Can You Prevent Viral Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis treatments vary, but the best way to prevent stomach flu is to wash your hands well and often. If you dont have access to food and water, use hand sanitizer until you are able to wash your hands. Other risk factors include raw or undercooked foods, especially shellfish, which can cause other food-borne illnesses, such as food poisoning. If someone in your house is sick, dont share utensils or cups, as this is an easy way to spread germs. If you are traveling, especially abroad, avoid the local water and drink bottled water whenever possible. If you have an infant, ask your pediatrician about the rotavirus vaccine, which children can receive as early as 2 months of age.
There are many old wives tales and myths surrounding winter cold and flu season. You cannot get sick from being cold, nor from going outside with wet hair. Once you feel the initial symptoms of sickness, quickly taking vitamins and supplements will not help. Over-the-counter remedies may slightly relieve symptoms, but there is currently no first-line approved treatment for the common cold or stomach flu.
What Natural Home Remedies Treat Dehydration From The Stomach Flu
The treatment of gastroenteritis is aimed at maintaining hydration while the vomiting and diarrhea resolve, often spontaneously. Home remedies that address keeping fluid in the body are key to recovery. Since most causes of gastroenteritis are due to viruses, replacing the fluid lost because of vomiting and diarrhea allows the body to recuperate and fight the infection itself.
Oral rehydration therapy using balanced electrolyte solutions such as Pedialyte or Gatorade/Powerade may be all that is needed to replenish the fluid supply in an infant or child. Plain water is not recommended because it can dilute the electrolytes in the body and cause complications such as seizures due to low sodium.
Although adults and adolescents have a larger electrolyte reserve than children, electrolyte imbalance and dehydration may still occur as fluid is lost through vomiting and diarrhea. Severe symptoms and dehydration usually develop as complications of medication use or chronic diseases such as diabetes or kidney failure however, symptoms may occur in healthy people. Clear fluids are appropriate for the first 24 hours to maintain adequate hydration. After 24 hours of fluid without vomiting, the diet can be progressed to other foods, for example, the BRAT diet, as tolerated.
The important thing to remember is that the goal is to provide fluid to the child and not necessarily calories. In the short term, hydration is more important than nutrition.
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Are The Stomach Flu And Food Poisoning The Same Condition
- Stomach flu or gastroenteritis means any nonspecific inflammatory problem in the gastrointestinal tract some doctors consider the stomach flu to be more narrowly defined as a viral infection that attacks the digestive system.
- Food poisoning specifically is caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or fluid that contains bacteria, viruses, parasites and/or their toxins they produce.
Consequently, there is some crossover between the two terms.
- Food poisoning usually is found in small outbreaks that occur among individuals that have ingested the same foods or drink, and symptoms occur rapidly within hours whereas the stomach flu has a more gradual onset of symptoms and usually lasts longer than food poisoning.
- Stomach flu is highly contagious and can be spread quickly to other individuals whereas food poisoning usually requires ingesting the poison and does not easily spread to other individuals.
Role In Human Disease
Examples of common human diseases caused by viruses include the , influenza, , and . Many serious diseases such as , , , , and are caused by viruses. The relative ability of viruses to cause disease is described in terms of . Other diseases are under investigation to discover if they have a virus as the causative agent, such as the possible connection between and neurological diseases such as and . There is controversy over whether the , previously thought to cause diseases in horses, could be responsible for illnesses in humans.
Viruses have different mechanisms by which they produce disease in an organism, which depends largely on the viral species. Mechanisms at the cellular level primarily include cell lysis, the breaking open and subsequent death of the cell. In , if enough cells die, the whole organism will start to suffer the effects. Although viruses cause disruption of healthy , resulting in disease, they may exist relatively harmlessly within an organism. An example would include the ability of the , which causes cold sores, to remain in a dormant state within the human body. This is called latency and is a characteristic of the herpes viruses, including EpsteinâBarr virus, which causes glandular fever, and , which causes chickenpox and . Most people have been infected with at least one of these types of herpes virus. These latent viruses might sometimes be beneficial, as the presence of the virus can increase immunity against bacterial pathogens, such as .
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Stomach Virus Causes Risk Factors Symptoms Treatments And Prevention
Similar nutritional disorders will certainly make an impact on your health even after you escape from a stressful circumstance. Normally, the indicators are almost exactly the same. Most of the second, you can not tell by the indicators. Symptoms of stomach virus will fluctuate based on the sort and volume of contaminants eaten.
Gastroenteritis flu may be caused by several types of a stomach virus. The actual stomach virus is a respiratory illness resulting from the influenza virus, whilst gastroenteritis results from a viral infection in the intestines. Stomach virus results from bacteria, viruses and selected parasites. Germs which cause stomach flu enter your body via your mouth. Possessing the stomach virus can cause you to feel miserable. If you believe youve got the stomach virus, tell your physician. If you believe you have a stomach virus, you might want to understand your health. A scarcity of superior hygiene can cause gastroenteritis. It is composed of foods which are simple to digest, contain plenty of carbohydrates to provide you with energy and replenish nutrients lost through vomiting and diarrhea.
What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better
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.
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Getting Medical Advice For Your Child
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.
Can You Prevent From Getting The Stomach Flu
There is no diet that will prevent gastroenteritis but food preparation plays a strong role in preventing gastroenteritis. In general, there are some actions people can do to prevent or reduce the chance of getting gastroenteritis, including:
- Hand washing, especially before eating and after any close association with an infected person or items they have touched
- Launder items daily that infected persons wear
- Avoid direct contact with infected individuals when possible
- Do not eat undercooked foods, especially meats
- Do not eat raw foods or drink untreated water
- Do not drink untreated or unpasteurized fluids, especially milk
- Thoroughly wash any produce, especially in third world countries, before eating
- While traveling, avoid all raw foods and ice drink only from sealed bottled products and use bottled water for tooth brushing
There is a vaccine available against rotavirus that has reduced this infection in children. Also, there is a vaccine available against cholera-causing bacteria , but it is not widely available. A clinical trial of a Norovirus vaccine was done with some success. It is likely in the near future commercial vaccines against some causes will be available.
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Is The Stomach Flu Virus Contagious
The stomach flu virus is contagious because it is transmitted through the air. The virus can be passed from one person to another by coughing and sneezing.
It can also be transmitted through contact with contaminated objects such as contaminated surfaces or utensils and even eating from the same plate as a sick person who has the virus.
The stomach flu virus is usually spread through close contact with someone who has it, especially via hand-to-hand contact.
Thats why its important to wash your hands a lot and try not to touch your face. Some people get really sick from the flu and others hardly get sick at all.
How Long Do The Effects Last
Stomach flu rarely lasts longer than 1 to 3 days. However, it may be 1 to 2 weeks before your bowel habits are completely back to normal.
Dehydration is a potentially serious complication of stomach flu. It can happen if your body loses too much fluid because you keep vomiting or having diarrhea. If you are severely dehydrated, you may need to be given fluids intravenously . In children and older adults, dehydration can quickly become life threatening.
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How Gastroenteritis Is Spread
The bugs that cause gastroenteritis can spread very easily from person to person.
You can catch the infection if small particles of vomit or poo from an infected person get into your mouth, such as through:
- close contact with someone with gastroenteritis they may breathe out small particles of vomit
- touching contaminated surfaces or objects
- eating contaminated food this can happen if an infected person doesn’t wash their hands before handling food, or you eat food that has been in contact with contaminated surfaces or objects, or hasn’t been stored and cooked at the correct temperatures
A person with gastroenteritis is most infectious from when their symptoms start until 48 hours after all their symptoms have passed, although they may also be infectious for a short time before and after this.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of The Stomach Flu
There are no specific tests for gastroenteritis, thus gastroenteritis is most often diagnosed by the symptoms it produces, mainly diarrhea. Because gastroenteritis is usually a self-limited disease, the large majority of people are never seen or diagnosed by a doctor. However, during outbreaks like those seen on cruise ships, viral and bacterial cultures or PCR and other immunologically based tests can eventually identify the causative pathogen. By the time this identification occurs, most of the individuals with gastroenteritis have begun to recover.
When gastroenteritis symptoms become severe, most public health officials and health care professionals run such tests to identify the causative agent of a specific disease, based on all of the history of the patients, physical exams, and symptoms. In addition, patients with similar histories of recent food or drink they had in common with others often helps to discover the source of the disease .
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 Is Viral Gastroenteritis Treated
Over-the-counter oral rehydration solutions , such as Pedialyte, can be helpful in mild cases. They are made to be easy on your childs stomach, and they contain a balanced mixture of water and salts to replenish essential fluids and electrolytes.
These solutions are available at local pharmacies and dont require a prescription. However, you should follow instructions carefully.
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Gastroenteritis : Symptoms Causes Treatments
What causes stomach flu? And what are the best gastroenteritis treatments?
Autumn and winter are markers of the start of the cold and flu season. No one looks forward to getting a cold or the flu, but sometimes its inevitable. Not all patients know, however, that there are two types of flu. Influenza is the type of illness best prevented with a flu shot gastroenteritis is another term for the stomach flu, which there is no vaccine for.
Often called a stomach bug, gastroenteritis and influenza are two markedly different medical conditions. Read on to learn more about the causes of stomach flu, its symptoms, how to prevent it, and what gastroenteritis treatments are available.
What Causes Gastroenteritis
There are many ways gastroenteritis can be spread:
- Contact with someone who has the virus
- Contaminated food or water
- Unwashed hands after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper
Rotavirus is the world’s most common cause of diarrhea in infants and young children. Norovirus is the most common cause of serious gastroenteritis and also foodborne disease outbreaks in the U.S.
Although not as common, bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella can also trigger the stomach flu. Salmonella and campylobacter bacteria are the most common bacterial causes of gastroenteritis in the U.S. and are usually spread by undercooked poultry, eggs, or poultry juices. Salmonella can also be spread through pet reptiles or live poultry.
Another bacteria, shigella, is often passed around in day care centers. It typically is spread from person to person, and common sources of infection are contaminated food and drinking water.
Parasites can also cause gastroenteritis, but it’s not common. You can pick up organisms such as giardia and cryptosporidium in contaminated swimming pools or by drinking contaminated water.
There are also other unusual ways to get gastroenteritis:
- Heavy metals in drinking water
- Eating a lot of acidic foods, like citrus fruit and tomatoes
- Toxins that might be found in certain seafood
- Medications such as antibiotics, antacids, laxatives, and chemotherapy drugs
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