Understanding The Stomach Flu

With so many people focusing on a healthier lifestyle and the best possible ways to thwart off sickness, it is important to understand the flu and how it impacts the population. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who often mistake stomach flu symptoms for those of the viral infection that we will often label as the flu. However, you should know that gastroenteritis or the stomach flu is a condition that is caused by varying factors including parasites, bacteria and viruses. The flu sickness that causes congestion, muscle aches, fever and fatigue is a condition that is strictly caused by viruses.


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How Influenza And Stomach Flu Differ

Basically, the stomach flu refers to the irritation and inflammation that comes along with gastroenteritis of the stomach and the intestines or the gastrointestinal tract. The stomach flu might stem from the presence of any combination of parasites or bacteria that can come from unclean water, spoiled foods and so on. Some people will even end up developing the stomach flu after having a reaction to dairy consumption due to their intolerance to lactose found in milk and milk products.

The actual flu is where there is a viral infection that will work to mimic a cold with the addition of severe symptoms such as troubling respiratory congestion, a high fever and a tremendous amount of fatigue and aching. Even though there are many different types of viruses that can cause the common cold, there are only virus types A, B or C that can lead to influenza. Keep in mind that the flu can be quite powerful and could even lead to other life-threatening conditions such as pneumonia.

If you or someone you know comes down with the stomach flu, you can seek a prescription for antibiotics to help treat your condition. However, if you develop the flu, you will find that antibiotics will not work because the flu is caused by a virus instead of a bacteria.

Symptoms Of Stomach Flu

People with gastroenteritis will often have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Stomach Pain
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

You might also notice the presence of a headache, fever and swollen lymph nodes depending on the bacteria as the cause. More severe cases of stomach flu can lead to dehydration and life-threatening conditions. Things to look for leading to dehydration include:

  • Increased thirst 
  • Decreased output of urine
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Sunken eyes
  • Becoming light headed
  • Dry mouth or mucous membranes

Click to learn more about Stomach Flu Symptoms

Whenever you or someone you know is dealing with the impact of stomach flu, it is important that you remain properly hydrated. Continue to take in a good amount of fluids, switching to bland foods or the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) will help you to get both nutrition and fluids that your body needs.

If you do come down with the stomach flu, you can retrace your steps to see if you can determine where it came from. The many causes of gastroenteritis can include viruses, bacteria, dairy products and even poor hygiene. In children, the viruses that can lead to stomach flu include Astrovirus, Norovirus, Rotavirus, Calicivirus and Adenovirus.

Because a lack of proper hygiene can lead to stomach flu, it is always important to remain diligent about proper had washing. Any bathroom visit or diaper change for a baby should result in a thorough hand washing to reduce the possibility of spreading an infectious bug from one person to the next.

You should call your doctor if there is blood in the vomit or stool, severely dehydrated, your Fever is higher than 101 degrees, you have swollen abdomen or abdominal pain in the right lower part of the abdomen or if your vomiting lasts more than 48 hours.

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