So What Does Norovirus Have To Do With It
Now that weve moved on from the flu, lets tackle the real culprit: norovirus.
This family of viruses is most often to blame for adult gastroenteritis, although other troublemakers include adenovirus and astrovirus, and rotavirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in babies and young children.
Norovirus can spread like wildfire in any crowded place, causing outbreaks in daycare centers, schools, cruise ships, hospitals, and nursing homesbasically, any place people come into contact with each other. According to the CDC, norovirus is the leading cause of acute gastroenteritis among people of all ages in the United States, causing an estimated 19 to 21 million cases each year.
When To Call The Doctor For Stomach Flu
If it’s your baby’s first bout with stomach flu, call the doctor right away. This way she can rule out bacterial infections, which may require treatment with antibiotics.
If the diarrhea is severe, persists for more than four or five days, or contains any blood, your child may have a more serious foodborne illness, such as Campylobacter or E. coli, and you should see your pediatrician. Other warning signs that warrant a call include a persistent fever, significant abdominal pain, vomiting without diarrhea , or tenderness when you touch your child’s tummy , says Katja Kovacic, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, in Milwaukee.
Most doctors want to see babies under 3 months with rectal temperatures of 100.4 F. or higher. If your child is between 3 and 6 months, you should alert the doctor if your child has a rectal temperature of 101 F. or higher. If your child is older than 6 months, let the doctor know if your child has a rectal temperature of 103 F. or higher.
- Dry mouth or cracked lips
- Dizziness, headaches, or muscle pain in older kids
- Urine that’s dark yellow
- Weight loss
If a child of any age seems severely dehydrated, call the doctor right away. The child may need to go to the hospital to get rehydrated through IV fluids.
A Pharmacist Can Help With Diarrhoea And Vomiting
Speak to a pharmacist if:
- you or your child have signs of dehydration such as dark, smelly pee or peeing less than usual
- you need to stop diarrhoea for a few hours
They may recommend:
- oral rehydration sachets you mix with water to make a drink
- medicine to stop diarrhoea for a few hours not suitable for children under 12
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For Adults And Older Children
Adults and older children typically experience diminished appetite while sick with stomach flu.
Even if you feel hungry, avoid eating too much too soon. You shouldnt eat solid food at all while youre actively vomiting.
Once you start to feel better and your nausea and vomiting stop, opt for foods that are easy to digest. That can help you avoid additional stomach irritation.
A bland diet, such as the BRAT diet is a good one to follow while you recover. The starchy, low-fiber foods in the BRAT diet, which include bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, help firm up stool and reduce diarrhea.
Choose a low-fiber bread and sugar-free applesauce. As you start to feel better, you can add other easy-to-digest foods such as plain baked potatoes and plain crackers.
While youre recovering, avoid things that might irritate your stomach or that might trigger additional bouts of nausea or diarrhea, including:
- fatty or greasy foods
- hard-to-digest foods, such as beef
- dairy products
Reasons to call the doctor for toddlers and children include:
- distended stomach
- severe, explosive diarrhea
- severe vomiting
- fever that doesnt respond to treatment, lasts more than 24 hours, or is over 103°F
- dehydration or infrequent urination
- blood in vomit or stool
Adults and the elderly should seek medical treatment if their symptoms are severe and last more than three days. Blood in vomit or stool also warrants a doctors care. If youre unable to rehydrate, you should also seek medical help immediately.
Getting Medical Advice For Your Child
You don’t usually need to see your GP if you think your child has gastroenteritis, as it should get better on its own, and taking them to a GP surgery can put others at risk.
Phone the 111 service or your GP if you’re concerned about your child, or they:
- have symptoms of dehydration, such as passing less urine than normal, being unusually irritable or unresponsive, pale or mottled skin, or cold hands and feet
- have blood in their poo or green vomit
- are vomiting constantly and are unable to keep down any fluids or feeds
- have had diarrhoea for more than a week
- have been vomiting for three days or more
- have signs of a more serious illness, such as a high fever , shortness of breath, rapid breathing, a stiff neck, a rash that doesn’t fade when you roll a glass over it or a bulging fontanelle
- have a serious underlying condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a weak immune system, and have diarrhoea and vomiting
Your GP may suggest sending off a sample of your child’s poo to a laboratory to confirm what’s causing their symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed if this shows they have a bacterial infection.
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People Likely To Experience Complications
Some people are more at risk of experiencing complications. They include:
- Children less than 2 years old
- People aged 65 years and over
- Pregnant women
- People with a chronic disease such as diabetes
If you or your child are in these categories of people and show symptoms of gastroenteritis, contact Info-Santé 811. A nurse will evaluate your condition and give you the appropriate recommendations.
What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Flu
The main symptom of gastroenteritis is diarrhea. When the GI tract becomes infected during gastroenteritis, multiple activities from the virus brings on diarrhea. Malabsorption occurs because of the destruction of the gut cells called enterocytes. The virus can also disrupt the reasbsorption of water and induce secretory diarrhea, which is responsible for the loose liquidy stools.
- Headache and body aches.
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How Long Is The Stomach Flu Contagious
The length of time that someone is contagious with the stomach flu depends on what virus they are infected with. People who contract the stomach flu from norovirus or rotavirus are contagious from when they begin feeling sick and for the first few days after they recover. Some people may be contagious for even longer. Norovirus can be found in your stool even before you start feeling sick. The virus can stay in your stool for two weeks or more after you feel better.
Symptoms Of The Stomach Flu
The stomach flu typically causes two other dreaded things for parents : vomiting and diarrhea. In fact, the stomach flu usually looks a lot worse than it is. Your baby or child may have cycles of vomiting and diarrhea for about 24 hours.
If your child has the stomach flu, they may have hard-to-miss signs and symptoms like:
- stomach pain and cramps
If your baby has the stomach flu, the may also be crying and irritable and who wouldnt be with these symptoms? Babies with the stomach flu are less likely to have a fever. Rest assured that this common tummy bug typically goes away quickly and by itself.
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What Are Stomach Flu Symptoms
Common symptoms of the stomach flu include: Diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, body weakness and aching. Symptoms such as bloody diarrhea and high fever may indicate a more serious 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 .
How Long Does A Flu Shot Last For
Only one year. This is because the viruses that cause flu are constantly changing. Most years the composition of the flu vaccine changes to reflect the Type A and Type B flu viruses that are currently in circulation. Typically, the flu vaccine includes two type A viruses and one or two type B viruses depending on the vaccine. Last year’s flu vaccine may not contain the most current viruses.
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Is It Stomach Bug Stomach Flu Or Food Poisoning
Your stomach is in knots as another wave of nausea strikes, sending you to the bathroom for the third time in an hour. But whats the cause? Two likely culprits are stomach bug and food poisoning. But how does stomach flu differ from food poisoning? Understanding the difference may lead to feeling better sooner and even prevent the illness from occurring in the first place.
How Does Viral Gastroenteritis Spread
Viral gastroenteritis spreads from person to person through contact with an infected persons stool or vomit.
If you have viral gastroenteritis, viruses will be present in your stool and vomit. You may spread the virus in small bits of stool or vomit, especially if you dont wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom and
- touch surfaces or objects used by other people
- prepare or serve foods and drinks for other people
- shake hands with or touch another person
Infected people who do not have symptoms can still spread viruses. For example, norovirus may be found in your stool before you have symptoms and up to 2 weeks after you recover.2
Norovirus is especially contagious, meaning that it spreads easily from person to person. Norovirus can live for months on surfaces such as countertops and changing tables. When an infected person vomits, the virus may become airborne and land on surfaces or on another person.
Viral gastroenteritis may spread in households, day care centers and schools, nursing homes, cruise ships, restaurants, and other places where people gather in groups.
If water comes into contact with stools of infected people, the water may become contaminated with a virus. The contaminated water can spread the virus to foods or drinks, and people who consume these foods or drinks may become infected. People who swim in contaminated water may also become infected.
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What Exactly Is The ‘stomach Flu’
Despite the fact that its so common, many people dont know much about the stomach flu. Thats possibly because it has many other names, including stomach bug and viral gastroenteritis . It may also be referred to as rotavirus or norovirus, as theyre the two main types of viruses that cause it.
Confusingly, its not anything to do with the flu, which is caused by the influenza virus. But it can definitely be just as bad. First off, theres vomiting and diarrhea, and don’t even get us started on the cramps. If youve been there, you wont forget it in a hurry.
Here are 13 things you need to know about viral gastroenteritis , including how long the stomach “flu” lasts in adults.
When To Call Your Doctor
Food poisoning and viral gastroenteritis can become severe enough to require medical attention. However, Dr. Thomas says, in most cases, people can effectively manage either condition with proper rest, hydration and at-home medical treatment. But call your doctor if youre unsure whats causing your symptoms or if youre having high or persistent fevers.
Also keep in mind that other health issues can mimic the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis or food poisoning. Call your doctor if your symptoms worsen or if you experience any of the following:
- Bloody stool or bloody vomit
- Inability to keep any fluids down
- Diarrhea lasting more than three days
- Fever above 104 degrees
- Severe abdominal pain
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Well How Can You Prevent Norovirus
Compared to other viruses, noroviruses can be surprisingly hardy and live for days on household surfaces, which is why they spread easily.
Wash your hands with soap and water, which is more effective than hand sanitizers, per the CDC. Avoid food prep if you’re sick , and wash laundry carefully, using gloves to handle soiled clothing and bedding if you can.
When cleaning hard surfaces, use a chlorine bleach solution with a concentration of 1000 to 5000 ppm or another disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as effective against norovirus.
How Long Does Norovirus Last
Both stomach flu and other types of food poisoning are what doctors call “self-limiting,” meaning they play themselves out and rarely require medical treatment.
While norovirus is the leading cause of foodborne illness, other bugs like salmonella are more likely to result in hospitalization.
If you’ve got viral gastroenteritis, you should start to feel better after two or three days. While food poisoning due to other causes hits you harder and faster, it goes away faster too you may be back to normal in a day or two.
Absolutely. It stands to reason that if you’re losing lots of fluid through watery diarrhea and vomiting, you need to replace that fluid. But remember that you’re also losing sodium, potassium, and other minerals , and they need to be replaced, too.
You should drink Pedialyte, or similar oral electrolyte solutions that contain salts and sugar as well as water, if you have severe diarrhea. Sports drinks aren’t a great choice, because the mix of salts and sugars they contain isn’t exactly right in terms of replacing fluid lost to diarrhea and vomiting.
If you think you, your child, or someone you are looking after is severely dehydrated, get straight on the phone to the doctor.
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How Can I Take Care Of Myself
- Rest your stomach and intestines by following the suggested guidelines for your diet during the illness, but make sure you prevent dehydration by drinking enough liquids. Drink just small amounts or sips while you are having vomiting.
- Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines without checking first with your healthcare provider.
- Your symptoms are getting worse.
- You keep having severe symptoms for more than 1 or 2 days, or you are just not getting better after a few days.
- You start having symptoms that are not usually caused by stomach flu, such as blood in your vomit, bloody diarrhea, or severe abdominal pain.
How Is Stomach Flu Diagnosed
Healthcare providers often can diagnose stomach flu from your symptoms. But your provider may want to rule out other illnesses with some tests:
- Stool samples: Tests look for bacteria, viruses or parasites in your stool
- Sigmoidoscopy: A doctor inserts a thin, flexible tube with a tiny camera from the anus into the lower large intestine to look for signs of inflammatory bowel disease. The sigmoidoscopy is a 15-minute procedure that doesnt usually require sedation.
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After Having Stomach Flu Once Can I Catch It Again
That depends on which virus you have been infected with as many different viruses can cause gastric flu symptoms.
Norovirus tends to infect people about 5 times in their lifetime. You will have a temporary immunity after an infection but this only lasts for a matter of weeks or months. Some lucky people have a genetic make up which seems to protect them from norovirus however.
After a rotavirus infection about 38% of children will have natural immunity against being reinfected but those who do become infected again will have a much milder illness. With each subsequent infection more and more children develop immunity and this is why most adults do not catch rotavirus.
There are 50 different types of adenovirus so although you may develop immunity to one or more of the viruses it is not likely that you would be immune to all of them.
A study in Oxford in England found that 75% of 10 year olds had astrovirus antibodies. This means that adults are much less likely to have stomach flu symptoms caused by this virus.
Stomach Bug Got You Spending Time On The Toilet Here Are 5 Things You Need To Know
The stomach bug can hit at any time, without any noticeâat least, until you make it to the bathroom and realize thatâs not your normal #2. Diarrhea from the stomach bug can last anywhere from a day to a week. Unless you want to press pause on your busy life to run to the bathroom multiple times a day, youâll need to find a way to get rid of diarrhea from the stomach bug, fast.
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A Flu Shot Won’t Help
Um, no. It has nothing to do with the flu, remember?
The flu is influenza, a virus that circulates the globe each year attacking the nose and throat as it spreads through communities in waves. Flu shots protect against that virusbut not ones that cause viral gastroenteritis, which is characterized by inflammation of the stomach and intestines, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If youre confused, youre not the only one. Some symptoms overlap, like body aches, nausea, and low-grade fever, says Gary Rogg, MD, an internist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.
But a flu shot definitely won’t protect against stomach bugs. There’s no such thing as a stomach flu shot, at least not for grown-ups.
How Contagious Is Norovirus
Norovirus is very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. Both stool and vomit are infectious. Particular care should be taken with young children in diapers who may have diarrhea. People infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least three days after recovery. Some people may be contagious for as long as two weeks after recovery. Therefore, it is particularly important for people to use good hand washing and other hygienic practices after they have recently recovered from norovirus illness.
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