What is Stomach Flu?
Stomach flu, also referred to by its medical name, viral gastroenteritis, affects the stomach and small intestine. This intestinal infection is not related to influenza, and though stomach flu is not a serious condition, it can leave you feeling weak and listless.
People do tend to recover fairly quickly from stomach flu; usually lasting from one to three days, but sometimes persists for longer. If left untreated, it can cause severe complications for infants, young children, older adults and those with a weak immune system.
What Causes Stomach Flu?
A number of different viruses, which include the rotavirus, adenovirus and Norwalk virus, cause stomach flu. Stomach flu may be contracted by coming into direct contact with an infected person. The virus is spread through kissing or shaking hands, ingesting contaminated food or water, as well as sharing eating utensils. When an uninfected person comes into contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, the virus travels down the stomach and intestines and causes inflammation in these organs.
How is Stomach Flu Diagnosed?
The diagnosis for stomach flu is simple. One of the easiest ways to determine stomach flu is from symptoms exhibited by the infected person. Stomach flu can also be determined by a physician performing a physical examination, or just by knowledge of an outbreak in the community. In some cases, a stool test may be ordered to detect the rotavirus. Stomach flu seldom requires medical treatment and is best treated at home.
Signs and Symptoms of Stomach Flu
The common symptoms and signs of stomach flu include:
Help for Stomach Flu
The most important thing to do is to rest the stomach and this can be done by not eating anything and drinking clear liquids only. If you have been vomiting quite a bit, have small sips of fluids regularly or suck on ice chips – most times water will be the only thing that will stay down.
Remember to replace lost electrolytes to prevent dehydration by drinking water, clear broths, weak tea, apple juice or non-caffeinated sports drinks. Gradually ease your way into eating bland foods such as soda crackers, toast, bananas, applesauce, gelatine, rice or chicken. Avoid certain foods and substances such as dairy products, caffeine, fatty, spicy, acidic and sugary foods as well as alcohol and nicotine. Try to get as much rest as possible because stomach makes you feel weak and tired.
Over-the-counter medications are available to treat nausea and diarrhea. Vomiting that lasts more than a day and diarrhea that persists for three days requires immediate medical treatment. Dehydration may occur if the body has lost too much fluid as a result of vomiting and diarrhea, and fluids may need to be given intravenously.
For centuries, people have used natural remedies to provide support for the entire digestive system and relieve gastrointestinal problems. Homeopathic ingredients Arsenicum alb, Colocynth and Wind flower helps to calm the digestive tract and relieves cramping pain. Mag phos has long been regarded as an effective remedy for colic and cramps also helping to alleviate gastric problems.