The stomach flu is a condition that not only causes diarrhea and vomiting, but other symptoms as well. Remember that there are various factors that can trigger the stomach flu. Despite being called “flu”, influenza is not one of the causes.
Signs and symptoms
Having a stomach flu can be annoying. Most feel miserable if they end up with this condition. The usual symptoms include the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
- Diminished appetite
- Weight loss
Depending on the exact cause of the condition, there are other symptoms that can manifest. It is vital to know when a doctor should be consulted for diarrhea and vomiting. If there is blood or a blackish tar substance, a doctor should be consulted right away.
What are the possible causes?
Various bacteria and viruses can trigger the symptoms of stomach flu. In most circumstances, it is caused by a virus such as rotavirus or norovirus. It is vital to bear in mind that even though the influenza virus can oftentimes cause digestive symptoms, a stomach flu does not refer to an influenza infection.
In most cases, the stomach flu is a “self-limiting” condition that eventually subsides after a span of a few days. There are cases in which the bacterial infections can persist and requires treatment using antibiotics. Nevertheless, this is uncommon and the bacterial causes of the condition such as E. coli and salmonella subside on their own.
What to do for the stomach flu?
If an individual suspects the symptoms of the stomach flu, it is vital to make sure to keep his/her body hydrated but avoid drinking too much rapidly. Excessive intake of fluids can trigger more vomiting and produce a vicious cycle. If the individual experiences diarrhea, he/she must eat bland foods that will not cause discomfort to the stomach.
Foods that are fatty, spicy or greasy must be avoided if the individual has stomach flu as well as caffeine or alcoholic beverages. Electrolyte drinks are the ideal options to rehydrate the body but regular water also works.
Remember that the stomach viruses are highly contagious, thus regular washing of hands and cleaning is vital. It is difficult to avoid spreading the condition to other family members in the same house, but cleaning as much as possible can reduce the risk.