Overview of Stomach Flu Symptoms

Gastroenteritis a.k.a. stomach flu is an infection of intestines causing diarrhea, fever and many other symptoms. Although, it is called stomach flu, it differs from the flu or influenza in many ways. Influenza affects the respiratory system through the nose, throat and lungs whereas; gastroenteritis affects the intestines causing numerous symptoms with fever.

The common stomach flu symptoms include:

  • Watery stools or diarrhea without blood
  • Vomiting with nausea feelings
  • Abdominal pain and sometimes there can be cramps
  • Low fever
  • Muscle pain or occasional headaches

The symptoms may appear after one or three days of being infected and can range from mild to severe in nature. In most cases, the stomach flu symptoms will disappear within a day or two, but some patients may suffer from the symptoms for 9-10 days.

Gastroenteritis and bacterial diarrhea show similar symptoms. Bacterial diarrhea is caused by salmonella and E.coli or parasites such as giardia whereas, gastroenteritis or viral diarrhea is caused by a virus.

When Do You Need to See a Doctor –

An adult should see a doctor under the below circumstances.

  • Vomiting for more than two days at a stretch
  • Passing blood with vomit
  • Not able to retain liquids for more than 24 hours in the body
  • Blood with bowel movements
  • Fever above 104F
  • Dehydration: signs include dry mouth, deep yellow urine, cannot pass urine as regular, dizziness, weakness and feeling lightheaded.

Children should see a doctor if:

  • Fever above 102F
  • Severe discomfort and pain
  • Lethargic and irritable feelings
  • Passing blood with diarrhea
  • Dehydration – It should be carefully observed and noticed how much water they drink and how much they pass as urine. Compare this with their normal urinating patterns to get a good idea about the dehydration situation.

If you have an infant, keep a close watch on their spitting. Spitting is a regular occurrence, but vomiting is not a normal situation. Babies can vomit for a variety of reasons, you must keep a close eye if the baby is vomiting on a regular basis. Regular vomiting may require medical attention.

Call the doctor if your baby has the following symptoms.

  • vomiting for more than 2-3 hours
  • Not having a wet diaper during the last six hours
  • Passing bloody stools
  • Having a dry mouth or is crying without tears
  • Is sleepy always or drowsy
  • Has a sunken fontanel: Fontanel is the soft spot on top of the baby’s head.

For more information about symptoms of stomach flu watch this interview.


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Source:  Mayo Clinic

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