stomach flu (Gastroenteritis) symptoms and causes

Young man in sleepwear suffering from headache in morning



Although it’s sometimes referred to as stomach flu, it’s actually not identical to influenza. Influenza (influenza) is a condition that affects your respiratory system – the throat, nose and the lungs. Gastroenteritis, on the contrary side, targets the intestines and causes symptoms and signs like:

  • A watery, typically nonbloody diarrhea — also known as bloody diarrhea generally signifies that you are suffering from an additional, more severe disease
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Stomach cramps and discomfort
  • Sometimes, headaches or muscle pains.
  • Low-grade fever

Based on the reason, symptoms of gastroenteritis caused by viral infection can manifest within 1-3 days of being infected , and may vary from mild to severe. The symptoms typically last for two or three days however, they can last for as long as 14 days.

Because the symptoms are comparable It’s easy to mistake diarrhea caused by viral infections with the diarrhea that is caused by bacteria like Clostridioides difficile or salmonella, Escherichia coli or parasites like Giardia.

When should you see a doctor?

When you’re over the age of 18, you should call your health provider if:

  • It’s impossible to keep your liquids low all day long
  • You’ve been vomiting, or suffering from diarrhoea for longer than 2 days
  • You’re vomiting blood
  • The signs of dehydration can include dry mouth, excessive thirst and deep yellow urine, or very little or no urine, as well as serious weakness, dizziness, or lightheadedness.
  • There is the presence of blood in your bowel movements.
  • If you are suffering from severe stomach pain, it is a sign.
  • You are suffering from a fever of more than 100 F (40 C)

For children and infants.

Visit your child’s health care provider as soon as you notice your child:

  • A fever of 100 F (38.9 C) or more.
  • I’m feeling tired and extremely irritable.
  • Is there some discomfort or in pain
  • Has bloody diarrhea
  • It appears dehydrated. Keep an eye out for indicators of dehydration among sick children and infants by comparing the amount they drink and urinate versus the amount that it is expected of them. Also, watch for indicators such as watery mouth and thirst or crying, but no tears

If you are a parent be aware that while vomiting up is something that happens regularly to your child however vomiting isn’t. Babies vomit for a variety of reasons, some of which require medical care.

Make an appointment with your baby’s doctor right away if you notice that your baby is:

  • Are you experiencing frequent vomiting?
  • There hasn’t been a wet diaper in the last six hours
  • Have bloody stools or severe diarrhea
  • A sunken soft spot (fontanel) is located on the top of their head.
  • Dry mouth or does not cry with tears
  • Are you unusually tired, sleepy, or inactive


It is most likely that you will develop gastroenteritis that is viral when you consume or drink foods that are contaminated, or drink. It is also possible to develop gastroenteritis when you have shared towels, utensils, or food items with people who have some of the viruses that triggers the illness.

A variety of viruses can trigger gastroenteritis. These include:

  • Noroviruses. Both children and adults are affected by noroviruses. They are the most frequent cause of foodborne illness in the world. Norovirus can infect households and even communities. It’s more likely to get into people who live in tight areas.

    In the majority of cases, it is possible to contract the virus through food or drinking water. It can also be transferred between people in close proximity or are sharing food items. It is also possible to contract it by touching surfaces that have been infected with norovirus and then making contact with your mouth.

  • A.R. Worldwide, this is the leading cause of gastroenteritis caused by viruses among children. They typically contract the disease when they place their hands or other objects that are contaminated by the virus in their mouths. The virus can also be spread by eating food that is contaminated. The disease is the most serious for infants and young children.

    People who have rotavirus infection may not exhibit symptoms however, they can transmit the disease. This is especially important in institutions such as nursing homes as those who are infected could transmit the virus to other people. A vaccine to prevent viral gastroenteritis is offered in a few countries including the United States, and appears to be effective in stopping the spread of the virus.

Some shellfish, specifically raw oysters that are not cooked properly may cause you to become sick. Drinking water that is contaminated can be the main cause of diarrhea caused by viral. However, in many instances, the virus is transmitted when a person with the virus eats foods you consume but does not wash their hands after using the toilet.

Risk factors

Gastroenteritis can be found all over the world and can impact people of all ages.

Some people who are more prone to gastroenteritis are:

  • Children in the early years. Children in child care centers or elementary schools might be at risk due to the fact that the process takes time for children’s immune systems to grow.
  • Adults who are older. Adult immune systems tend to decrease in effectiveness as they age. Seniors in nursing homes are at risk because their immune systems are weakening. They also have close contact with other people who can spread the germs.
  • Children in dormitories or schoolchildren. Anywhere that groups of people gather in close proximity can create an ideal where an intestinal infection can be passed on.
  • Anyone who has weak immunity. If your resistance to infection is not high -for example, the immune system of your impaired by chemotherapy, HIV/AIDS, or another medical condition you could be susceptible to.

Every gastrointestinal virus has a time of year that is when it’s the most active. If you’re within the Northern Hemisphere, for instance, it is more likely that you suffer from norovirus or rotavirus during the winter and spring.


The most significant complication of gastroenteritis viral is dehydration which is a significant loss of water and vital minerals and salts. If you’re in good health and drink enough fluids to replenish fluids lost from diarrhea and vomiting dehydration isn’t an issue.

Older adults, infants, and those with weak immune systems can become seriously thirsty when they have lost more fluids that they are able to replace. The hospitalization may be necessary to ensure that the fluids lost are replaced with an IV placed in their arms. The dehydration of a person is rarely a cause of death.


The best method to stop the transmission of intestinal infection is to observe these steps:

  • Make sure your child is vaccinated. A vaccine against gastroenteritis that is caused by the rotavirus is offered in certain countries including that of the United States. It is given to children during the beginning of their life it is believed as effective at avoiding the severe symptoms associated with this disease.
  • Make sure you wash your hands well. And make sure that your children are doing the same. In the event that your child is older, help that they wash their hands particularly after using the bathroom.

    Clean your hands immediately after changing diapers, and before cooking or eating food as well. It is recommended to make use of soap and warm water and rub hands gently for a minimum of 20 minutes. Rub cuticles and the underside of fingernails, and along the lines of your hands. Rinse thoroughly. Take sanitizing wipes along with hand sanitizer in the event that water and soap aren’t readily available.

  • Make sure you have different personal items at the house. Avoid sharing eating dishes, glasses, and plates. Separate towels are required in the bathroom.
  • Make food safe. Wash all your vegetables and fruits prior to eating them. Clean your kitchen surfaces prior to preparing foods on them. Do not cook food when you are sick.
  • Stay away. Avoid close contact with anyone with an infection, in the event that it is possible.
  • Cleanse hard surfaces. If someone in your home is suffering from gastroenteritis viral clean hard surfaces like counters, faucets, and doorknobs with the mixture of five to 25 tablespoons (73 or 369 milliliters) of bleach from your household to 1 gallon (3.8 Liters) in water.
  • Avoid touching clothes that might possibly have come in contact with viruses. If someone in your home suffers from gastroenteritis that is viral, use gloves when touching the clothes. Clean bedding and clothes in hot water, then dry them on the highest setting. Clean your hands after handling your laundry.
  • Look over your child’s childcare center. Make sure the center is separated into separate rooms to change diapers as well as for cooking or serving meals. The room that has a diaper changing table must have an unclean sink and an appropriate disposal system for diapers.

Make sure you’re protected when traveling

If you’re on a trip to other countries, it is possible to be sickened by contaminated food or drinking water. You could be able to lower the risk of getting sick by following these suggestions:

  • Make sure to drink only sealed bottles or carbonated water.
  • Beware of ice cubes as they might be made from polluted water.
  • Use water from a bottle to brush your teeth.
  • Avoid eating food that is raw (including peeled fruits as well as raw vegetables and salads that have been touched by hands of humans.
  • Avoid cooking fish and meat that is undercooked.


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