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What Do You Do For The Stomach Flu

How Long Do These Symptoms Typically Last

Mayo Clinic Minute: What is ‘stomach flu?

Norovirus symptoms usually last for about 48 to 72 hours. Those with a cold or some other viral illnesses usually feel bad but then gradually start to feel better over time. People with norovirus, on the other hand, usually have a pretty rapid recovery. They tend to be really sick and then suddenly start feeling better. They might wake up in the morning and say, “Hey, okay. It’s gone. I feel better.”

Stomach Flu Or Food Poisoning How To Tell The Difference

While the bathroom may be a safe, quiet space for many us to do our business privately especially for some parents who need space from their little ones you definitely dont want to find yourself on the toilet for too long.

However, if youve been hit hard with vomiting, diarrhea or both, its probably an arms length away at the moment.

Was it the chicken that didnt taste quite right last night? Or did you get it from someone? Whatever the reason, clearly youve either come down with food poisoning or the dreaded stomach bug. But how do you know the difference? It may be tough to know at first because the symptoms are so similar.

There is quite a lot of overlap between the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis and food poisoning, said Matthew Cook, DO, a family medicine physician with Banner Health Clinic in San Tan Valley, AZ. Both illnesses share many of the same symptoms.

If you find yourself praying to the porcelain god, heres how to differentiate between the two and get yourself some much-needed relief for both.

If Someone Is Infected With Norovirus What Symptoms Could They Expect To Develop

People usually develop symptoms one to two days after theyve been exposed. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are the most predominant symptoms associated with this infection. Some people may also have a headache or feel generally achy. Norovirus is sometimes associated with a low-grade fever of around 100.4 to 101 degrees but not always. People with norovirus may also have some stomach cramping and belly pain. If you’re running to the bathroom several times a day, you could imagine that your gut is working really hard.

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What Are The Common Side Effects Of Stomach Flu Medicine

Stomach flu medications will vary in their side effects based on the type of drug, the dose, and the patients age. This is not a complete list of side effects, so consult with a health care provider about possible drug interactions or side effects.

Oral rehydration solutions have a long track record of safety. Rare side effects include nausea and diarrhea. It is possible, however, to overdo it. Taking too many electrolytes can throw the bodys balance of electrolytes off-kilter, causing potentially serious medical problems.

Antiemetics work by affecting a part of the brain involved with nausea and vomiting, so drowsiness, lightheadedness, sleepiness, restlessness, and agitation are the most common side effects. Dry mouth is a common complaint. The most serious side effect involves a hazardous change in the way the heart beats called QT prolongation. The risk is greatest when these drugs are taken over a long period.

The most commonly experienced side effect of antidiarrheal agents is constipation. Abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting are also possible.

How To Avoid Stomach Flu With Lemon

Is there such a thing as the stomach flu?

The reason why lemons are often made use of in cleaning solutions is that they have a cleansing effect. That cleansing, along with the vitamin C found in lemons, is antimicrobial for killing off pathogens and giving your immune system a boost.

What to Do:

  • Extract the juice of a fresh lemon and add 2 tsp of this juice to a glass of warm or even hot water.
  • Add a dab of honey, if you will, and drink this mixture 2 to 3 times daily until you reach full recovery.

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Do I Need To Go To The Emergency Room If I Am Only A Little Sick

No. The emergency room should be used for people who are very sick. You should not go to the emergency room if you are only mildly ill.

If you have emergency warning signs of flu sickness, you should go to the emergency room. If you get sick with flu symptoms and are at higher risk of flu complications or you are concerned about your illness, call your health care provider for advice.

People experiencing any of these warning signs should obtain medical care right away.

In children

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How Common Are They

Infections like food poisoning and the stomach flu are common. Each year in the United States, its estimated that 48 million people get food poisoning, and up to 21 million people get the stomach flu caused by norovirus. While many people quickly recover from these seemingly harmless illnesses, they cause thousands of ER visits and hospitalizations per year in the United States combined.

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Stomach Flu And Dehydration

How can I prevent dehydration?If your baby or child has had several bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, he or she will need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.

If you are breastfeeding, continue to give your baby breastmilk. Breastmilk has fluids and electrolytes needed to prevent dehydration. Your doctor may also want you to give your baby an oral rehydration solution .

If you feed your baby formula, try switching to one that is lactose free while your baby is sick. Lactose can make diarrhea worse. Your doctor may also suggest switching from formula to an ORS for 12 to 24 hours, and then switching back.

For toddlers and young children, use an ORS, which contains the right mix of salt, sugar, potassium and other nutrients to help replace lost body fluids. Children older than 1 year may also have clear soups, clear sodas or juice mixed with water to help prevent dehydration. You should avoid giving your child plain water and dark sodas. Water alone does not contain enough salt and nutrients to help with dehydration. Dark sodas are typically very high in sugar and can irritate your childs stomach.

Signs of dehydration

  • Avoid activity after eating.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth after eating.
  • Choose foods from all the food groups as you can tolerate them to get adequate nutrition.

Treatment for vomiting includes:

If vomiting and diarrhea last more than 24 hours, an oral rehydrating solution should be used to prevent and treat dehydration.

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How Can Stomach Flu Be Prevented

How to Treat a Stomach Flu or Virus | Stomach Problems

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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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.

How Can I Prevent Viral Gastroenteritis

You can take several steps to keep from getting or spreading infections that cause viral gastroenteritis. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water

  • after using the bathroom
  • after changing diapers
  • before and after handling, preparing, or eating food

You can clean surfaces that may have come into contact with infected stool or vomit, such as countertops and changing tables, with a mixture of 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach and 1 gallon of water.7 If clothes or linens may have come into contact with an infected persons stool or vomit, you should wash them with detergent for the longest cycle available and machine dry them. To protect yourself from infection, wear rubber gloves while handling the soiled laundry and wash your hands afterward.7

If you have viral gastroenteritis, avoid handling and preparing food for others while you are sick and for 2 days after your symptoms stop.7 People who have viral gastroenteritis may spread the virus to any food they handle, especially if they do not thoroughly wash their hands. Contaminated water may also spread a virus to foods before they are harvested. For example, contaminated fruits, vegetables, and oysters have been linked to norovirus outbreaks. Wash fruits and vegetables before using them, and thoroughly cook oysters and other shellfish.7Find tips to help keep food safe.

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Is There A Specific Treatment Or Cure For Norovirus

No, unfortunately the infection just needs to run its course. If youre dehydrated and you can’t keep anything down, you should talk to your doctor. You may benefit from medication to help you stop throwing up, or you may need some IV fluids. People with diarrhea may be tempted to take some over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medicine, but you definitely want to consult your doctor first. If the infection is anything more serious than the norovirus, using a medication to decrease the number of times you’re using the bathroom could actually make things worse, particularly if you have a bacterial infection.

How To Tell Food Poisoning And Covid

flu progression day by day

Symptoms alone are only suggestive, and they cannot prove that a person does or does not have COVID-19.

The most effective way to distinguish food poisoning from COVID-19 is to take a test for SARS-CoV-2. However, even these tests are not perfect. To get the most reliable results, a person should consider retesting a few days after a negative test.

A person can also determine whether they have COVID-19 by considering several factors, including:

  • If everyone in the household recently ate the same food and feels sick, food poisoning might be the culprit.
  • If several recent contacts develop symptoms, they and the person may have COVID-19.
  • If a person only has GI symptoms, COVID-19 is less likely, though still possible.

A person can also evaluate the symptoms:

  • Fever: Although food poisoning can also cause it, a fever is often the first symptom of COVID-19.
  • Cough and respiratory issues: Food poisoning does not cause breathing problems or coughing. However, it can cause fatigue and chills.
  • Neurological symptoms: COVID-19

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Bananas Rice Applesauce And Toast

Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are the foundation of the BRAT diet.

Health professionals commonly recommend these bland foods for stomach complaints, as theyre gentle on your stomach.

Keep in mind that the BRAT diet alone will not provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.

In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children return to their usual age-appropriate diets as soon as they are rehydrated .

Nonetheless, bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are safe options to start with when queasy from the stomach flu.


Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are safe foods to try while sick with the stomach flu.

How Do You Know If You Have The Stomach Flu

The usual symptoms of viral gastroenteritis, or stomach flu, include:

Nausea and vomiting

Often lack of appetite or nausea is the first sign of stomach flu, with vomiting usually following soon after and diarrhea after that. Vomiting typically stops before diarrhea, and you may recover your appetite quickly.

Cramping and diarrhea

Stomach cramps and audible noises from the intestine often precede watery diarrhea. Severe diarrhea is when you have over ten bowel movements in one day. Generally, viral gastroenteritis doesnt cause pus or blood in the stool.

General unwellness

You may have a fever with the stomach flu, but it rarely goes high. You may also have achy muscles and feel generally weak and exhausted.

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How Can I Treat Viral Gastroenteritis

In most cases, people with viral gastroenteritis get better on their own without medical treatment. You can treat viral gastroenteritis by replacing lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration. In some cases, over-the-counter medicines may help relieve your symptoms.

Research shows that following a restricted diet does not help treat viral gastroenteritis. When you have viral gastroenteritis, you may vomit after you eat or lose your appetite for a short time. When your appetite returns, you can most often go back to eating your normal diet, even if you still have diarrhea. Find tips on what to eat when you have viral gastroenteritis.

If your child has symptoms of viral gastroenteritis, such as vomiting or diarrhea, dont hesitate to call a doctor for advice.

How Long Does A Stomach Virus Last

Stomach Flu

Depending on the type of stomach virus you are infected with, symptoms may appear 1 to 3 days after you are exposed to the virus. Symptoms of a stomach virus vary from mild to severe and can last anywhere from 1 to 10 days.

Stomach viruses are not the same as bacterial infections. It is important not to confuse diarrhea that is caused by a virus from diarrhea that is caused by bacteria. Diarrhea can be caused by the following types of bacteria:

  • Clostridium difficile
  • E. coli
  • Parasites such as Giardia

Most stomach viruses last 2 to 10 days and can vary in severity and symptoms. Types of viruses that cause stomach viruses include:

  • Norovirus

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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.


Does Medicine Help The Stomach Flu

Though you may want to give your child a medicine to help with stomach flu symptoms, Dr. Rojas recommends against it. Because the stomach flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help.

“Usually we just need to let the virus run its own course,” says Dr. Rojas. “Trying to take medications can prolong symptoms and make them worse.”

Dr. Rojas says the only exception to the no-medicine rule is the appropriate dose of acetaminophen if your child has a fever.

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What Is Stomach Flu

Stomach flu, also called viral gastroenteritis or “the stomach bug”, is a contagious infection that causes the inflammation of your stomach and intestines and it is not related to the influenza virus despite its misleading name.

The symptoms may center around your stomach or abdomen but the stomach flu can also affect your small intestines and colon too.

You usually can recover from the stomach flu, however, it can be fatal for at-risk individuals such as infants, the elderly, or if you have an underlying condition that causes you to be immunocompromised.

There is no cure for the stomach flu so your best option is to focus on prevention.

What Causes The Stomach Flu

how long does the flu last 2017

Bacteria and viruses — infectious agents — are the most frequent causes of gastroenteritis in the U.S. and worldwide. Infections cause diarrhea and other symptoms by causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tissue. The infections increase the fluid content in the intestines and colon by changing the gastrointestinal tract’s ability to absorb water and by increasing the speed of transit for things you ingest. This, in turn, causes diarrhea. Infectious agents may physically damage intestinal cells directly or indirectly with secreted toxins.

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