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Home Symptoms of Flu What is the stomach flu?
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What is the stomach flu?

What is the stomach flu?

Stomach flu is not a medical term. Many use it to refer to any type of illness which results in nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, but the cause does not have to be from the flu virus. Doctors will call "stomach flu" gastroenteritis, which refers to an irritation of the digestive tract. Most cases of influenza do not result in stomach flu symptoms.

What are stomach flu symptoms?

Stomach flu symptoms are not always similar to those for other viral infections. People with stomach flu are often nauseous, vomit, and they might have diarrhea. Other symptoms such as headache, fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose are typical flu symptoms, and when these accompany vomiting and diarrhea, a doctor should be notified to rule out more serious illnesses.

Is stomach flu the same as the swine flu or H1N1 flu?

No, the stomach flu can be caused by anything which attacks the digestive system. Possible causes of stomach flu symptoms could be a virus, bacteria, parasite, food intolerance, or a food allergy. Some people with swine flu have shown the unusual signs of vomiting and diarrhea, but stomach flu symptoms do not mean that the person has swine flu. Should any troubling symptoms occur, an appointment with a physician should be made to determine the exact cause and course of treatment. Blood tests might be run to ensure that the stomach flu symptoms are not caused by the swine flu, now known as the H1N1 flu. If this is the case, antiviral medication can be prescribed to shorten the duration of the flu symptoms.

How can I treat stomach flu symptoms?

Treatment depends upon the source of the symptoms, but in most instances, the illness will run its course in 1 to 3 days. If the doctor recommends home treatment, keeping hydrated and rested will allow the body to help to heal itself. Avoid solid foods until vomiting subsides, and drink enough cool, bland liquids to replenish fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea.

Once the stomach has rested and the appetite returns, small amounts of bland foods can be reintroduced. The best diet for those with stomach flu symptoms is the "BRAT diet". This acronym stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These simple foods are easy to digest and soothing to an irritated digestive system. Other bland foods can also be eaten such as chicken soup, soda crackers, noodles, and eggs. Avoid excessive spices, salt, and fats.

When are stomach flu symptoms severe?

If food cannot be kept down for 3 days or liquids cannot be kept down for 24 hours, medical attention will be needed immediately to prevent life threatening dehydration. Be on the watch for dehydration symptoms: dry mouth and skin, lightheadedness, lack of tears, muscle cramps, and when severe weakness and confusion.



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