It is caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungus. Stomach flu is spread through contaminated food, contaminated water or coming into contact with an infected person. The main cause of stomach flu in children is rotavirus, while in adults, norovirus and campylobacter are the main causes. Anyone can be diagnosed with stomach flu, but people living in camps, nursing homes, prisons, and dormitories have a higher risk of being diagnosed with stomach flu.
Stomach Flu: How to know when you have it and what to do
Stomach flu also called gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection with symptoms like diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and fever.
Symptoms of stomach flu include:
- abdominal cramps
- fever and light-headedness
- weight loss and weakness
- headache and body aches
How is stomach flu diagnosed:
Stomach flu can be diagnosed based on symptoms, a physical test, or the presence of comparable cases in your community. In most cases, the doctor may have to request for samples of your stool and then carry out a test on it to look for viruses, bacteria, or parasites.
What to do when you have stomach flu:
Although there's no specific medical treatment for stomach flu, there are several self-care measures for stomach flu. Here are some of the self-care measures:
1) Drink plenty of water:
Sweating and diarrhoea cause the body to lose a lot of water when you have stomach flu. It's very important that you consume a lot of fluids in order to keep your body hydrated. You can also opt for ginger tea and sports drinks, but avoid alcohol and caffeinated drinks.
2) Avoid fatty, dairy, and fibrous foods:
Eating dairy, fatty, and fibrous foods can worsen the symptoms of stomach flu. Instead, try the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). These foods are energy-giving, and they're also easy to digest.
3) Get plenty of rest:
Stomach flu makes the body weak and tired. It is recommended that you take time to get enough rest so that the body can recover quickly and also fight off the infection.
4) Use anti-diarrhea medications:
Anti-diarrhea medications like loperamide (Imodium A-D) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, others) can help manage the symptoms. It is also suggested that you avoid anti-diarrhea medications if you have bloody diarrhoea or a fever.
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