Viral Gastroenteritis is one of the most common medical conditions in present times. It is an intestinal infection and is often called stomach flu. It spreads through contact with the infected person or by consumption of contaminated food or water. It is sometimes deadly and damages the immune systems, especially for the infants and elderly. It is characterized by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting with fever at times. There is no such effective treatment for stomach flu, so prevention is better. Avoiding contaminated food and water with frequent hand-washing is the best prevention method one can use.
Causes of Stomach Flu
Contact with contaminated food water, utensils, and towels can cause Stomach flu because of the virus infection. A number of viruses can result in stomach flu. The common ones include:
- Norovirus: Noroviruses is responsible for most foodborne illness. It affects both children and adults. The infection caused by norovirus can spread through communities, families and person-to-person.
- Rotavirus: This is the most common virus to cause stomach flu in children. When the children put their finger in any item contaminated with the virus and then put their fingers into the mouth the infection starts spreading. The infection is very severe in infants and young children. The adults who are affected with rotavirus show no symptom, but this can spread the illness further. A vaccine against rotavirus is available in most of the countries, including the United States and is an effective method to prevent stomach flu.
Symptoms of Stomach Flu
Stomach Flu or Gastroenteritis attacks the intestine. The symptoms of stomach flu may vary depending on the cause. The symptoms may disturb you for one to three days, depending on the range of infection – mild or severe. Usually, the symptoms last up to three days but it can persist for 10 days in severe cases. The symptoms of stomach flu are listed below:
- Watery diarrhea, usually without any blood.
- Cramps and pain in the abdomen.
- Feeling of Nausea or vomiting sometimes.
- Suffering from headaches or muscle aches at times.
- Low-grade fever.
- Loss of appetite.
- Weakness and weight loss.
You should consult a doctor if you face these symptoms.
Treatment of Stomach Flu
As it says prevention is better than cure, avoiding contaminated food and water for further infection is of prime importance. Washing off hands helps to prevent the spread of further infections. The main treatment for stomach flu is rest and rehydration. The treatment tips are given below:
- Fluid treatment: The patient suffering from stomach flu must intake sufficient amount of fluids. Oral rehydration solution and the regular formula water help to maintain the water balance of the body which is hampered due to the excessive water loss due to diarrhea.
- IV fluids: The patients who suffer from a severe level of stomach flu are given direct medication into their blood through the veins. This helps in a quick recovery of the patients.
- Antibiotics: These are medicines which help in killing and limiting the growth of the infection causing viruses.
- Avoiding certain food: Avoiding oily and spicy food and maintaining a balanced diet is important in stomach flu.
- Dietary supplements like BRAT diet, meaning Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast are the ingredients which help to make the stool firm.
- Acetaminophen: This is the medicine for pain and fever. Aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are not advised as they can upset the stomach.
- Anti-diarrheal medications: Medicines like Imodium and Pepto-Bismol help to reduce watery stools.
- Zinc Supplements helps to reduce the severity and duration of stomach flu.
Other than these treatment techniques, there are some effective home remedies for Stomach Flu, which are listed here.
Home Remedies for Stomach Flu
- Ice chips: Those who have trouble taking fluids should try to suck and have ice chips. This will help to rehydrate the body.
- Caffeine- free tea: They can help revive the bodily fluids. Adding ginger and lemon in the tea helps to ease the stomach issue and provides the body with some extra vitamin C.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar helps to ease nausea and stomach upset. It helps to recover the stomach flu.
- Cinnamon and turmeric: They have antiseptic properties and help to relieve symptoms of stomach flu. It helps in the reduction of stomach pain and cramps.
- Heating pad: Using a heating pad for abdominal pain helps to relieve the cramping and pain due to stomach flu.
- Yogurt: It contains probiotics and is very effective to reduce watery It helps to make the stool firm.
- Acupressure is very effective in treating some types of nausea. Pressing below the width with the thumb and gently massaging the area for 2 to 3 minutes helps in the reduction of stomach flu.
Getting plenty of rest is very important in stomach flu. Due to the loss of important body fluids through the stool causes the patients to suffer from weakness. Taking rest is vital. Apart from taking rest, drinking a lot of water is essential. The patients should rehydrate themselves for a quick recovery. In stomach flu, most people make a full recovery without any complications.