Causes Of Stomach Flu
“Stomach flu” is a commonly used term that refers to any gastrointestinal illness involving nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This is an inaccurate term, however, because the illness is not caused by the influenza virus. The Norwalk virus, also called norovirus, is a highly contagious bug that produces gastrointestinal symptoms. Illnesses that cause intense vomiting that lasts for 12 to 24 hours usually are not viruses at all but more likely are cases of food poisoning.
What Is The Stomach Flu
Officially called gastroenteritis, stomach flu is an infection of the digestive systemand it’s totally unrelated to the regular flu , which affects the respiratory system. Stomach flu is the second most common illness kids get, after respiratory infections like colds. Although unpleasant, stomach flu is usually not serious. It’s usually caused by viruses, but can also come from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, as well as some parasites.
“Babies and young children are especially prone to infection because their immune systems are still forming, so they haven’t yet built up the antibodies to fight off germs,” says Rita Steffen, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
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.
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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.
Best Foods To Eat After Having The Stomach Flu
- Post author Scientific review: Dr Heben’s Team
Gastroenteritis, which commonly known as stomach flu, is an intestinal infection that can lead into several symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and abdominal cramps. Although the name of the disease is stomach flu is not influenza at all. This disease often called stomach flu since it will bring you some discomforts like seasonal flu does. But, do you know that there are several foods that would be perfect remedies for you stomach flu? Here are some of the foods that you need to consume after youre having stomach flu.
The best foods to eat after having the stomach flu is cinnamon, The first food that you need to consume after you are suffering from stomach flu is cinnamon. The main reason you must consume cinnamon is because this food contains an antiviral properties, which without a doubt will dimished the virus that cause the stomach flu. Beside that, cinnamon also will provide you some relief from the pain that you feel during the stomach flu since it will bring some warm feeling in the body after you consume it.
You can consume cinnamon as a beverage by following these steps:
You can consume peppermint as a tea by following these steps:
Same as peppermint, you can consume this chamomile flower as a tea by following these steps:
Same as chamomile and peppermint, you can consume this ginger as a tea by following these steps:
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How To Tell If Your Child Has A Stomach Bug
His or her little body, doubled over in pain, and exhibiting symptoms including vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, chills, fatigue and dehydration. Theres also often a loss of appetite and little interest in sipping any sort of drink.
Try low-sugar yogurt, too, as the probiotics in it help return the good bacteria to the gut. For about 24 to 48 hours after tummy troubles, dont feed your child any high-sugar, spicy or greasy foods, as it can aggravate her stomach. Skip apple juice because it can also bring back diarrhea. When you reintroduce milk, do so slowly.
Stomach pain usually resolves itself after your child: Theres no specific treatment for an upset stomach, but you can help relieve your childs symptoms. Trusted home remedies for stomach pain in kids include: When should I take my child to the doctor for stomach pain? Stomach pain in children is usually nothing to worry about.
Treatments For Stomach Viruses
Stomach viruses usually go away by themselves. You wont need treatment, but home remedies can help ease symptoms.
- Stay home. In addition to avoiding passing it to someone else, youll appreciate being near a bucket or a bathroom!
- Get plenty of rest.
- Drink plenty of fluids to replenish what youre losing.
- If you have a bit of an appetite, eat some carb-rich but bland foods .
- After your symptoms are gone, replenish your gut bacteria with probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt.
If you need pain relief for a headache and stomach cramps, ask your doctor about the best choice for you. Acetaminophen is typically safe during pregnancy. You can take up to two 500 milligram tablets four times a day.
Avoid over-the-counter treatments like antidiarrheal medications and anti-nausea drugs. They may not be recommended during pregnancy.
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How Do Doctors Treat Viral Gastroenteritis
Your doctor may prescribe medicine to control severe vomiting. Doctors dont prescribe antibiotics to treat viral gastroenteritis. Antibiotics dont work for viral infections.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend probiotics. Probiotics are live microbes, most often bacteria, that are like the ones you normally have in your digestive tract. Studies suggest that some probiotics may help shorten a case of diarrhea. Researchers are still studying the use of probiotics to treat viral gastroenteritis. For safety reasons, talk with your doctor before using probiotics or any other complementary or alternative medicines or practices.
Anyone with signs or symptoms of dehydration should see a doctor right away. Doctors may need to treat people with severe dehydration in a hospital.
When To Call A Doctor
Most stomach viruses clear up in about 48 hours. If you have symptoms longer than this or if you cant keep anything down, including water, let your doctor know.
Your doctor will first make sure youre not dehydrated. This is can be harmful for you and for your baby. Next, youll probably need medical tests, like a physical checkup and blood tests to rule out other causes like:
- bacterial infection
- premature labor
An upset stomach from a bacterial infection can last longer than a stomach virus. It can also be more harmful during pregnancy for you and your baby.
Tell your doctor if you have stomach bug symptoms for longer than about 2 days. If you have a bacterial infection, like listeriosis, youll need antibiotic treatment.
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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.
What Causes Rotavirus In Children
Rotavirus spreads through the stool of infected people, which is why changing tables and bathrooms are prime areas where the virus can lurk.
When people dont wash their hands well after changing an infected babys diaper or infected toddlers dont wash their hands well after using the potty, they can easily spread rotavirus to others.
Babies and toddlers most often come down with the virus, typically after touching something thats been contaminated and then putting their hands in their mouths or putting unwashed hands with traces of feces in their mouths.
But it can also spread through contaminated water, food or sometimes even through droplets in the air from coughs and sneezes.
Though a childs first case of rotavirus disease may be pretty severe, if she gets infected again, the symptoms are usually much milder.
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Treatment For The Stomach Flu
Most babies and kids wont need treatment for the stomach flu. Theres no specific treatment for the viruses that cause it.
Unless your doctor recommends it, dont give your child antidiarrheal and anti-nausea medications. Although it doesnt seem like it, some diarrhea and throwing up can be good because its part of getting rid of the virus.
Your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to make your child more comfortable.
Never give aspirin to babies and children. Aspirin and children dont mix. It can lead to a condition called Reyes syndrome.
Several home remedies can help make your baby or child more comfortable while dealing with the stomach flu.
- Let the stomach settle. Avoid feeding your baby or child solid food for a few hours.
- Give older children frozen juice treats or ice chips. This helps to prevent dehydration.
- If your baby is throwing up, wait 15 to 20 minutes before giving them any liquids. Try nursing your baby if they want to feed. Drinking milk may help hydrate your baby its OK if they throw up some or all of it right after.
- Try using as syringe to give babies small amounts of liquids if they dont want to nurse or bottle feed.
How Do Children Catch The Stomach Flu
Stomach bugs are highly contagious. Playing with an infected child is the main way the virus spreads, since germs can live on toys and clothes for hours or even days. If the infection results from bacteria or parasites, your child may have consumed contaminated food or water .
What makes stomach flu particularly virulent is that children are contagious before they actually show any symptoms. Also, adults with their heartier immune systems may harbor the germs and pass them along without ever getting sick themselves.
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How To Prevent The Stomach Flu
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.
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Best Foods To Eat When You Have A Stomach Bug
Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection marked by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting and sometimes fever. It often is called a stomach bug or the stomach flu, but its not actually the flu or influenza, which is a respiratory illness. This infection often develops though contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water.
An upset stomach is a common symptom of a stomach bug, and this can make eating sound unappealing, even though you may be hungry. Knowing what to eat is difficult because you dont always know whats going to agree with your stomach.
I recommend these tips for fueling your body when you have viral gastroenteritis:
The main complication of a stomach bug is dehydration a severe loss of water, and essential salts and minerals. If youre healthy and drink enough to replace fluids you lose from vomiting and diarrhea, dehydration shouldnt be a problem.
For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.
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Common Cold Or Nasal Congestion
If your baby has a cold and a stuffy nose, but she can still breastfeed OK, you don’t have to do anything to treat her stuffy nose. However, a stuffy nose can often make breastfeeding more difficult. Since infants breathe through their nose, it can be frustrating for the baby as she tries to nurse and breathe at the same the time.
If your child is fussy at the breast and not breastfeeding well, you can try to ease the nasal congestion to make breastfeeding more comfortable for her with these tips.
- Moist air from a humidifier can help clear the nose and make it easier for your baby to breathe. If you do not have a humidifier, steam can work as a humidifier. You just have to sit in the bathroom with the baby while you run a hot shower.
- Saline nose drops for infants can be used to help loosen secretions and open the nasal passages.
- Try breastfeeding your child in an upright position.
- Use a bulb syringe aspirator to gently suck out the mucus from your babys nostrils before nursing.
Do not give your baby any over-the-counter medication without first consulting the doctor. If your baby continues to have a difficult time breastfeeding, contact your pediatrician.
What To Feed A Child With Stomach Flu
Stomach viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea, also called gastroenteritis, are among the most unpleasant facts of life for both adults and children 1. These illnesses are typically short in duration but produce intense symptoms.
Stomach viruses that cause vomiting and diarrhea, also called gastroenteritis, are among the most unpleasant facts of life for both adults and children 1. These illnesses are typically short in duration but produce intense symptoms. Although most people do not want to eat during the acute phase of gastroenteritis, you must stay hydrated during your illness and then cautiously resume eating certain foods as you feel better. Use extreme caution in managing stomach illnesses in children because dehydration can occur quickly and may lead to serious complications.
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How Long Does The Stomach Flu Last In Kids
A stomach flu usually lasts between one and three days. Vomiting typically lasts for less than 24 hours.
However, if your child’s symptoms continue for more than 5 days, you should call your pediatrician. You should also call your pediatrician if your child has:
- A high fever
- Diarrhea or vomiting with blood
- Signs of dehydration like not urinating, dry skin, no tears or rapid breathing
With the right rest and rehydration, your child should make a full recovery in just a few days. Dr. Rojas says they can even return to school once the diarrhea has stopped and they have not had a fever for 24 hours.
How Long Will Stomach Flu Last
Depending on the virus and your child’s immune system, the stomach flu can last anywhere from just a day or two to around 10 days. “Children tend to throw up for just the first day or two, but diarrhea can last more than a week,” says David B. Nelson, M.D., chair and professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
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