Stomach flu is also known as Gastroenteritis or stomach virus. Irritation of the stomach and the intestines is known as stomach flu. Generally within a couple of days this flu goes away on its own. Even though this condition is known as stomach flu, it is not caused because of the influenza virus. This strain of flu involves the stomach area and intestines, while influenza involves the respiratory tract, lungs, head and sinuses. The causative factors are bacteria, viruses and certain parasites such as cryptosporidium, giardia, E.coli, Shigella, Salmonella, Adenovirus, Rotavirus, Caliciviruses, Astrovirus, etc. These bacteria, viruses and parasites enter the stomach through the mouth.
The symptoms of stomach flu are manifested after having physical contact with an infected person such as shaking hands, drinking from the infected glass or sharing food with an infected person which can transmit the virus from the infected person. Once a contact with the flu virus is established, the virus travels to the stomach and intestines. The virus causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines which leads to vomiting and diarrhea.
Stomach flu is manifested through several symptoms. The symptoms generally take several days to appear after the infection with the causative factor. The symptoms may last for 1 to 10 days, depending on the type of infection. Generally most of the flu symptoms settle without the need of any assistance of a physician. Stomach flu symptoms differ from person to person and the flu symptoms basically depend on the causative factor. The severity of the symptoms is based on the resistance of the body.
Some of the stomach flu symptoms are as follows:-
· Diarrhea is the commonest symptom,
· Abdominal cramps,
· Severe burning pains in the stomach,
· Pain in muscles,
· Stomach pain,
· Swollen lymph glands,
· Loss of appetite,
· Weight loss,
· Fainting spells,
· Dehydration, etc.
Generally, stomach flu fails to be a serious illness. Though, at times a person may become very ill, and if the condition is untreated, the infection can become life-threatening. One needs to be very careful and cautious regarding the development of dehydration. Dehydration is the most serious and life-threatening complication of stomach flu. Continuous vomiting and diarrhea leads to loss of fluids and electrolytes which causes dehydration.
Some of the symptoms of dehydration are as follows –
Eyes sunken, thirst increased, loss of elasticity of the skin, fever higher than 101 degrees F, dry or sticky mucous membranes in the mouth, bloody vomit or bloody stool, decreased urination, drowsiness, swollen abdomen or pain in the lower part of the abdomen, constant vomiting lasting for more than 48 hours.
All the flu symptoms can be taken care of by adequate rest, consumption of excessive fluids and medications.