Have you ever had a bug that hit you so hard you could not go to school or work? You took some medicine for fever to keep your soaring temperature down but your stomach! Oh your poor, poor stomach… What is this you are experiencing? Is it a cold? Is it diarrhea? Nope! What you have just might be a case of Stomach Flu, also known as Viral Gastroenteritis. It is fairly common illness and in some cases, a patient may have had it without even realizing it. What are the signs to look out for? What is the treatment? Here is the 411 on the Stomach Flu.
The Stomach Flu, also known as Viral gastroenteritis and gastric flu, is an illness that affect the stomach and intestinal area. Despite being called the stomach flu, it is not like the Influenza virus. During this illness, your stomach and your intestines swell up due to the virus.
The stomach flu can be caused by a number of viruses. Some of the most common ones are Rotavirus, Norovirus and Sapovirus. It can also be caused by different bacteria such as Salmonella, Campylocbacter Aeromas and Shigella. Another possible cause are parasites like Cryptospordium and Giardia.
Transmission is fast and easy as one can be infected by simply eating food that is not properly cooked or food that has been contaminated by the virus. This illness can also be passed on by using utensils and dishes with the virus. It can also be passed on from person to person.
Those who are at a higher risk for Stomach Flu are the elderly and children as both have a weaker immune system and both are exposed to an environment where there is often close contact.
The signs and symptoms can differ a little from person to person, all depending with what virus has infected you. But in general, these are the symptoms you will see in a person who has been infected by the Stomach Flu.
The best way to treat the Stomach Flu is by hydrating. Drinking water is not enough as this does not replace the salt and minerals you lose during this period of illness. Drink electrolyte or oral rehydration solutions to replace them. Do not worry as they are completely safe for babies to drink. Do not drink any milk or acidic drinks such as orange juice as these can make the pain worse.
Due to the stomach pain, the patient may not want to eat food and may stick to a liquid diet but once they can eat, do not give them hard food such as red meat. Go for a soft, bland diet like, for example, bananas, yogurt and rice. Then you can start on lean meat and soft, cooked veggies. Do not give them oily, fatty or spicy foods as doing so may lead to complications.
Do not give the patient any medicine aside from ibuprofen or acetaminophen to keep the fever down as other medicines may cause further problems.
You can prevent the spread of stomach flu by practicing good hygiene. Do not eat undercooked food and wash your greens thoroughly. When traveling, only drink water from a trusted source such as a bottled, sealed water bottle. Although there is no definite vaccine for stomach flu, you can take a vaccine for rotavirus, one of the most common causes of this illness.
When going out, be careful of what you are eating. If you suspect the dish is undercooked, send it back to the kitchen. Carry around hand sanitizer and do not forget to drink medicine once you feel ill.