Stomach flu is the common term for a viral infection of the digestive tract called viral gastroenteritis. Most commonly, viral gastroenteritis is spread through contact with another infected individual, eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water. A number of different viruses cause stomach flu. These viruses are highly contagious and spread through the fecal-oral route, in other words when someone does not wash their hands after using the bathroom.
WHO IS AT RISK?
Stomach flu can affect anybody. It occurs at any time of the year, although is more common during the winter months. Stomach flu is generally self-limited and will get better on its own as the body fights the infection. Certain populations are at higher risk for complications of stomach flu including young children, elderly adults and those with a weakened immune system.
STOMACH FLU SYMPTOMS
Symptoms of stomach flu include watery diarrhea, abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and low-grade fever. Symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and high fever may indicate a more serious type of infection. While stomach flu is generally self-limited it can cause severe dehydration. It is important to call your doctor if you are unable to keep liquids down, have been vomiting more than two days or are showing signs of severe dehydration (dizziness, weakness, dark urine).
DIAGNOSIS AND STOMACH FLU TREATMENT
Diagnosis is mostly based on a careful medical history. Occasionally stool studies are sent to exclude other kinds of infections. There is no specific treatment for viral gastroenteritis. Antibiotics are not effective against the viruses that cause the infection and should not be taken. The most important part of treatment is staying well hydrated by drinking a fluid solution with electrolytes.
HOW PLUSHCARE WORKS
1. Video chat with a doctor and tell them about your symptoms and medical history.
2. The doctor can tell you what is wrong and prescribe any needed medications like anti-nausea pills or other medicines for your stomach.
3. Pick up your prescription at your local pharmacy, and be feeling better fast.