Treating A Stomach Bug
Most of the time you can treat your stomach bug symptoms at home. The best remedy is just to allow yourself time to rest and recover from the virus. However, if symptoms persist for more than a few days, you may need to seek medical attention.
Drink plenty of fluids. Adults can drink sports drinks with electrolytes, and children can also drink fluid replacement solutions such as Pedialyte. These drinks, coupled with water, will help restore the bodys hydration balance. For best results, drink a few sips every half hour to an hour.
Limit sugary drinks or sodas, as these liquids dont replace lost electrolytes. Coconut water is a great natural source of electrolytes as well, plus its much lower on sugar.
Avoid dairy, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods, and fried foods that might upset your stomach.
Common Causes Of The Stomach Flu
If youre experiencing diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal cramping, theres a good chance that you have the stomach flu. Viral gastroenteritis can cause all of these symptoms, and in some cases may also lead to a low-grade fever, headaches, and body aches.
Youre probably wondering exactly what it is thats causing you to feel this way. The stomach flu is an intestinal infection thats generally caused by a virus such as:
- Norovirus – Noroviruses, which affect adults and children, are the worlds leading cause of foodborne illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , noroviruses cause about 19 to 21 million cases of diarrhea and vomiting illnesses in the United States each year.
- Rotavirus – Rotavirus is the worlds leading cause of viral gastroenteritis among children, who typically develop the illness after touching their mouths with their fingers or another contaminated object. While adults generally dont experience symptoms, they can still spread rotavirus.
Although its much more common for the stomach flu to be caused by a virus, in some instances, it can also be caused by bacteria.
Antibiotics For Bacterial Gastroenteritis
In mild cases of bacterial gastroenteritis, antibiotics are typically not considered necessary and will not be prescribed. Antibiotic medication is generally only recommended in severe or persistent cases of bacterial food poisoning, in some cases of travelerâs diarrhea, in infections with C. difficile and in cases where the person has a weakened immune system or is otherwise at risk of complications. The type of antibiotics needed will depend on the specific type of bacteria, which may need to be determined with laboratory tests.
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Keys To Preventing Spread Of Viral Gastroenteritis
- Washing hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, especially: after changing a diaper, after going to the bathroom, before preparing food, and before eating.
- Avoiding touching the face with unwashed hands.
- Dont share food or utensils with other people.
- Dispose of dirty diapers or other items with stool on them with care.
- Avoid close contact with people who are already ill.
- After an illness, clean surfaces that may have the virus on them with detergent and chlorine bleach.
- Dont prepare any food for other people until at least 2 or 3 days after diarrhea/vomiting stops.
- Dont eat food that is prepared by someone who is ill with diarrhea/vomiting.
- Stay home and away from other people when ill.
The fecal-oral route tends to make most people cringe because it implies close contact between stool or feces and the face. Not washing hands well is usually how the viruses that cause illnesses are spread.
However, its important to remember that the viruses that cause illness are spread quite easily, especially in daycare centers, schools, or adult care facilities. Those who care for children and adults who wear diapers, especially, need to take care to wash hands carefully with soap and water. Babies and children should have their hands washed often, especially if they are touching their diaper area.
When Do I Need To See A Doctor
You need to seek medical advice if you think you are becoming dehydrated, youre throwing up a lot and cant keep fluids down, you have blood in your poo or sick , or you have severe tummy pains. A persistent high temperature or diarrhoea or puking that lasts longer than expected are other reasons to contact the doc. Also, if youre elderly, have a long-term condition such as diabetes, are pregnant or have trouble with your immune system, dont hesitate to get in touch with a health professional.
Gastroenteritis is common. About 1 in 5 people in the UK will develop an episode of gastroenteritis in a year.
Most people have a mild form of gastroenteritis and do not need to seek medical advice or to visit their doctor.
- The main symptom is diarrhoea, often with being sick as well. Diarrhoea means loose or watery stools , usually at least three times in 24 hours. Blood or mucus can appear in the stools with some infections.
- Crampy pains in your tummy are common. Pains may ease for a while each time you pass some diarrhoea.
- A high temperature , headache and aching limbs sometimes occur.
If vomiting occurs, it often lasts only a day or so but sometimes longer. Diarrhoea often continues after the vomiting stops and commonly lasts for several days or more. Slightly loose stools may continue for a week or so further before a normal pattern returns. Sometimes the symptoms last longer.
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What Natural And Home Remedies Help Soothe Stomach Flu Symptoms
- Home treatment consists of adequate fluid intake so dehydration is prevented
- Clear fluids are recommended , but not fruit juices or milk as they may prolong the symptoms
Most patients who get gastroenteritis have no complications and will completely recover. The major complication for some patients is dehydration infants, children, the elderly and immunosuppressed are at higher risk for this complication. In many third world countries, hydration of infants is difficult at best so there are many infant deaths worldwide due to dehydration caused by gastroenteritis.
Is A Stomach Virus Contagious
Yes, a stomach virus can be contagious. Sick people who do not wash their hands before preparing food can spread the stomach flu to others. Stomach viruses are contagious because viruses and bacteria can live in or on food.
If the food is handled or cooked improperly, you have a greater risk of catching the stomach flu. Cross-contamination during cooking also causes stomach viruses to spread. This can happen when a person uses the same cutting board or knife to prepare different foods.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Flu Vs Covid
For starters, it’s important to understand that gastroenteritis isn’t actually a type of flu, even if it’s colloquially known as stomach flu. According to MedlinePlus, a resource from the US National Library of Medicine, gastroenteritis occurs when the lining of your intestines becomes inflamed. This can be the result of viruses, parasites, or bacteria, per MedlinePlus.
Chances are you’ve either had it yourself or you, at least, know someone who has: Viral gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the country, according to MedlinePlus. It’s spread through contaminated food or water and contact with an infected individual. Below are the symptoms of gastroenteritis:
Fortunately, most people recover from gastroenteritis without any treatment. That said, dehydration is a common side effect because oftentimes, gastroenteritis causes patients to lose a lot of fluid through diarrhea and vomiting. In order to keep from becoming dehydrated, you might have to drink more fluids than you usually do while you’re fighting off the illness.
One of the ways SARS-CoV-2 spreads is through infected respiratory droplets , which is why mask-wearing is beneficial. And if the symptoms of the stomach flu look familiar, it could be because many of them are also signs of COVID-19. The most common symptoms are:
How Long Is The Stomach Flu Contagious
Stomach flu is contagious when the organisms that cause stomach flu are spread to uninfected individuals. The timeframe or how long the infected person remains contagious depends on the infecting cause. For example, most common cause of stomach flu is Norovirus. It has an incubation period of about 12-48 hours, and can cause the person to be contagious during the incubation period and for as long as they shed virus . Norovirus symptoms usually last about1-2 days and is sometimes called the 24-hour stomach flu.
Other infectious agents such as other viral strains, bacteria, and other infectious agents have incubation periods and contagious periods unique to them. Because this is an introductory article about stomach flu, readers are recommended to check the incubation periods and contagious periods of whatever infectious agent is thought to be causing the problem .
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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.
What Is The Treatment Of Norovirus
If you do become ill with the Norovirus, there are a few things you can do to help ease your symptoms:
- Rest: Get plenty of rest.
- Drink Fluids: Drink plenty of fluids, such as water or clear soup, to stay hydrated.
- Avoid Dairy: Avoid dairy products, as they can make your symptoms worse.
If your symptoms are severe or last longer than a few days, be sure to see a doctor. In some cases, the Norovirus can lead to dehydration, which can be serious.
There is no specific treatment for norovirus, and patients typically recover without any medical intervention. However, patients should drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
You may take over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen to relieve pain or fever. In severe cases, patients may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids.
Prevention of norovirus is the best way to avoid the illness, and good hygiene practices are essential. There is currently no vaccine available for norovirus.
Noroviruses are highly contagious, and outbreaks can occur easily in settings such as daycare centers, nursing homes, schools, hospitals, and cruise ships.
In this time of uncertainty regarding the question is there a stomach bug going around, good hand hygiene is the best way to stay safe. Properly washing your hands with soap and water after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before eating or preparing food, can help to protect you and others from these viruses.
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Is It Possible To Prevent 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.
Is Stomach Flu Contagious
Viral stomach flu spreads easily to others. You can catch a stomach flu virus any time of the year, but the common norovirus is more widespread from November to April when people tend to be more indoors. Because a variety of viruses can cause stomach flu, you might get different versions of gastroenteritis many times throughout life.
Its spread from person to person by coming into contact with tiny, invisible particles from a sick persons stool or vomit if you:
- Touch a surface and come in contact with the germs and you touch food or your mouth.
- Eat or drink food or beverages that have a sick persons germs.
- Have close contact with someone who has stomach flu .
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How To Prevent Gastric Flu
Once you have stomach flu, you need to take some steps to cope with it. In addition, you need to use a lot of liquid to prevent dehydration.
The disease is contagious and spreads rapidly and there is no specific treatment for it, so the patient should be given a large amount of liquid so that he can easily tolerate the disease.
Infants are vaccinated against rotavirus, but other people should take special care to clean their hands to avoid it.
- This can be done by washing your hands with soap and water before handling food and after going to the bathroom or changing a diaper
- Alcoholic sanitizers can also keep hands sterile.
- Take special care of your hygiene to avoid this disease.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before coming out or cooking.
- You should also avoid close contact with people who are sick, and if you or your child has been sick, dont go to work or school until at least 24 hours after you are well. If you are sick, stay home and do not go out.
- If you do get sick, drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated, like water, juice, broth, and sports drinks. These liquids can help prevent dehydration. But dont drink any fluids that contain alcohol or caffeine , because these can make dehydration worse.
- If a guest comes to the house, clean hard places, and counters after he leaves.
How Is The Stomach Flu Spread
Stomach flu typically spreads in the following ways:
- Contagious cases of stomach flu are spread usually through contamination of food or water or by person-to-person spread via contaminated droplets containing infectious organisms.
- Some contagious cases of gastroenteritis can be spread by kissing and other close personal contact or on surfaces where droplets containing viruses or other agents survive.
- Some viruses can even be spread to household pets such as dogs that, in turn, can spread the disease to other people.
Fortunately, most causes of contagious gastroenteritis are not spread by breastfeeding or through breast milk. Noncontagious gastroenteritis such as that related to side effects of medicine or food allergies is not spread from person to person.
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Prevention For Food Poisoning
Food poisoning generally isnt contagious, though some forms can be spread through contact with an infected bodily fluid .
Even though it usually doesnt spread from person to person, there are still steps you can take to prevent food poisoning from occurring in the first place, including:
- Wash your hands and work surfaces before, during, and after preparing food.
- Cook food to the right internal temperature to kill harmful bacteria.
- Keep your refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below.
- Refrigerate leftovers within two hours of cooking.
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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What Is Stomach Flu Virus
In This Article
The stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, Stomach flu is a generic term that refers to symptoms caused by a variety of viruses. The most common are norovirus and rotavirus.
The most common cause of stomach flu in the United States is Norovirus, which causes inflammation and irritation of the stomach lining. This can result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and pain.
What Causes The Stomach Bug
Several different viruses may cause the stomach bug. Viruses that most frequently cause it include:
21 million cases of the stomach bug in the United States each year.
Stomach bug caused by a rotavirus or norovirus infection is highly contagious. In the United States, infections most commonly occur between October and April. The most common way to contract the virus is from direct contact with someone who is sick.
You can also contract the virus from contact with a surface that someone who is infected has touched.
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