The Stomach Flu: What is it and How can I Prevent it?
posted by Orem Family Medicine | March 15, 2017
The flu and the stomach flu are often used interchangeably. The symptoms of each condition are very different, but the common term “flu” can be misleading.
In reality, they’re two completely different conditions. The flu, or influenza, is a condition that leads to symptoms of fever, sore throat, body aches, etc., and rarely causes stomach problems. The “stomach flu”, however, presents symptoms of nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. The proper term for the stomach flu is gastroenteritis, an infection of the stomach and intestines.
There are a few common, noticeable symptoms that accompany gastroenteritis including:
Dehydration is a greater risk for children, who can become dehydrated more quickly than adults. If your child is showing other signs of gastroenteritis, look carefully for symptoms of dry skin or mouth that signal dehydration, and check with your doctor before you give them any medicine.
There are several different causes of gastroenteritis:
These pathogens are spread in various ways, including:
Because no cure exists for gastroenteritis, treatment for the condition aims to ease symptoms. Recommended treatment methods include:
Most cases of gastroenteritis clear up after a week to 10 days using these treatment methods. If your child has gastroenteritis and exhibits any of the following, it’s important to visit your doctor as soon as possible:
There are several things you can do to help protect yourself or your child from gastroenteritis. Some of the best tactics:
Most cases of gastroenteritis clear up over time and with the right treatment. If you or your child are exhibiting symptoms of gastroenteritis, call your doctor. He or she can help guide your treatment.
“The Truth About Stomach Flu.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/children/features/the-truth-about-stomach-flu#1
“Gastroenteritis.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/gastroenteritis#1
“Diarrhea and the Stomach Flu.” WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/diarrhea-stomach-flu?page=2
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.