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Is Diarrhea A Symptom Of Flu

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How You Catch Flu

Vegas pediatrician warns of stomach virus sweeping the valley

The flu virus is contained in the millions of tiny droplets that come out of the nose and mouth when someone who is infected coughs or sneezes.

These droplets typically spread about one metre. They hang suspended in the air for a while before landing on surfaces, where the virus can survive for up to 24 hours.

Anyone who breathes in the droplets can catch flu. You can also catch the virus by touching the surfaces that the droplets have landed on if you pick up the virus on your hands and then touch your nose or mouth.

Everyday items at home and in public places can easily become contaminated with the flu virus, including food, door handles, remote controls, handrails, telephone handsets and computer keyboards. Therefore, it’s important to wash your hands frequently.

You can catch flu many times because flu viruses change regularly and your body won’t have a natural resistance to the new versions.

An Introduction To Diarrhoea And Flu

Diarrhoea is the passing of frequent watery stools. Although it is not the most common symptom of the flu, it can occur with many viral infections, and can leave you feeling weak and dehydrated. Generally speaking, diarrhoea associated with the flu should clear up within a few days, but if it lasts longer than this, it may be worth seeking medical attention.

Are There Conventional Medicines To Help With Diarrhoea

A doctor is likely to be concerned that your diarrhoea is causing you to experience dehydration. The risk of this is higher in children, the elderly, or after prolonged bouts of diarrhoea. If this is the case, he may recommend,an oral rehydration solution which will replace essential salt, glucose and minerals.

Anti-diarrhoeal medications may also be recommended, particularly if your diarrhoea has persisted for more than a few days. They work by slowing the movement of muscles in the gut, and usually help to shorten the duration of your diarrhoea by around 24 hours.

In order to help you to fight off the flu, your doctor may suggest an anti-viral drug, Oseltamivir or Zanamivir. However, this treatment is not appropriate for everyone, and you should discuss with your doctor the possible side-effects.

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Is It Flu Or A Cold

It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have flu or just a cold, as the symptoms can be quite similar. The main differences are:

Flu symptoms:

  • usually include fever and aching muscles
  • make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities

Cold symptoms:

  • come on gradually
  • mainly affect your nose and throat
  • are fairly mild, so you can still get around and are usually well enough to go to work

How Can I Get Rid Of Stomach Flu


The most important things you can do to feel better faster are rest and staying well hydrated. Between diarrhea and vomiting, your body loses a lot of water and electrolytes. If your belly is still upset, you can take small, frequent sips of water, sports drinks, juice or broth, or chew on ice chips. It is important to know that water alone may not be enough to keep you hydrated in severe cases of diarrhea so make sure to take in electrolyte balance hydration . Eat a normal diet when you feel hungry again.

Also Check: What Happens When You Are Constipated

What Can I Do At Home To Feel Better

Get plenty of rest and keep drinking lots of liquids until your symptoms pass. Drinks that have both sugar and salt help your intestine absorb fluids better and replace the lost electrolytes. Nibbling salty crackers along with ginger ale or a similar sweet drink could also help. Avoid dairy products like cows milk for one or two days milk can make diarrhea worse due to temporary lactose intolerance that often come with gastroenteritis.

To control severe diarrhea, your healthcare provider may recommend an over-the-counter medication such bismuth subsalicylate . You shouldnt use these medicines if you have a high fever or bloody diarrhea, which can be signs of deeper infection from bacteria or a parasite. Antidiarrheal medications arent safe for children to use. Instead, see your healthcare provider for treatment.

Nearly everyone gets a bout of stomach flu at some point. Its not pleasant, but it usually passes in less than a week. Give yourself time to rest and recover before you go back to your daily activities. Fortunately you can take steps to avoid the likelihood of passing it on to others or picking it up again in the future.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/26/2020.


Causes Of Stomach Flu

The stomach flu is an infection that attacks your intestines. Its most often caused by viruses like norovirus in adults or rotavirus in children. But it can also be triggered by other viruses, bacteria, parasites, or toxins.

While other illnesses are transmitted through the air, the stomach flu is transmitted via:

  • Contaminated food or drink
  • Touching a surface that’s been infected
  • Person-to-person contact with an infected person
  • Contact with the vomit or stools of an infected person

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Check If You Have Flu

Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:

  • a sudden high temperature
  • diarrhoea or tummy pain
  • feeling sick and being sick

The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.

Cold and flu symptoms are similar, but flu tends to be more severe.

Differences between cold and flu.

Appears quickly within a few hours Appears gradually
Affects more than just your nose and throat Affects mainly your nose and throat
Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal Makes you feel unwell, but you still feel well enough to do your normal activities

Diarrhea The Bodys Defense Mechanism

What is Diarrhea? Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

The consensus is that the body attempts to protect itself from harmful microorganisms through various routes. For example, a fever boosts the bodys immune response and the eyes water to flush something that may cause harm. Diarrhea plays a similar role during a bout of diarrhea, your body is trying to rid the gut of a potentially harmful intruder.

Research has found that upon introduction of harmful microorganisms to the gut, the lining of the intestinal wall becomes more permeable to let in extra water to flush the invaders out, which causes loose stools and diarrhea in most cases. As a result, taking medications to suppress diarrhea might be counterproductive to speedy and proper healing.

Also Check: How To Not Get Constipated

Should I Call In Sick For A Cold Or Only The Flu

The CDC advises workers with flu symptoms to stay home until at least 24 hours after their fever is gone or at least four to five days after the onset of symptoms.

The CDC also recommends that people who have a cold stay home to prevent spreading it to other people and encourages parents to keep children with colds home from school or daycare.

Can A Cold Cause Diarrhea In Toddlers And Babies

According to a 2016 research review , rotavirus infections are the most common viral causes of diarrhea and vomiting in children. The rotavirus doesnt fall into the category of viruses considered cold viruses. In children and adults, a rotavirus infection is often referred to as the stomach flu.

The adenovirus and rhinovirus are two types of cold viruses that can potentially cause diarrhea in children.

The same research review above showed that adenoviruses are responsible for about 1.5 to 5.4 percent of diarrhea cases in children under 2 years old.

In a 2016 study, researchers examined the symptoms of respiratory infections in a group of 993 children under 2 years old. The researchers found that in 9.6 percent of cases, vomiting or diarrhea were the symptoms of children that developed the rhinovirus infection.

Diarrhea cant directly cause a cold, but it may weaken your immune system and make you more prone to infection.

According to a 2017 research review, its estimated that about of all the lymphocytes in your body are in your digestive tract. Lymphocytes are specialized white blood cells that help you fight infections.

A 2016 research review showed that your digestive system also hosts more than 1,000 types of bacteria. Many of these bacteria play an important role in your bodys immune system.

Having diarrhea may potentially disrupt levels of bacteria in your gut and put you at risk of developing infections.

Diarrhea can be caused by the following infection types:

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What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Flu

Blood In Stool 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 To Support Diarrhea And The Common Cold

With any case of diarrhea, staying well hydrated with water is essential. Other helpful liquids to consider include unsweetened coconut water, broths, and a homemade or store-bought electrolyte replenishers. Additionally, as soon as you experience diarrhea symptoms, consider taking DiaResQ, a food for special dietary use that provides beneficial nutrients that support your bodys natural immune response and help to relieve diarrhea and restore normal intestinal function.

If your child has diarrhea and symptoms of a cold and is refusing to eat, know that this is often the bodys normal reaction, try easy to digest foods like applesauce or bananas and continue to encourage adequate hydration. Whether diarrhea is connected to the common cold or not, following these supportive measures will help you to feel better as quickly as possible.

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What Are The Symptoms Of The Flu

Unlike cold symptoms, which develop gradually, flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. Cold and flu symptoms may overlap, but the latter tend to be more severe. There is also a greater risk of complications with influenza, such as pneumonia, according to the CDC.

youre sick for a longer period of time, and recovery will take a long time. Getting your energy back can take a couple of weeks, even in a healthy individual, says Catherine Troisi, PhD, an associate professor in the management, policy, and community health division and the epidemiology division at University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston.

According to the CDC, symptoms of the flu typically include:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Fever or cough that improves, then returns or worsens
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions

The flu usually lasts for several days or occasionally weeks, with the most severe symptoms improving after two or three days. But weakness, fatigue, and dry cough caused by influenza can persist for six to eight weeks, according to the Merck Manual.

Occasionally people who are infected with the flu virus have no fever, at least not at the onset of other symptoms. Some people go on to develop a fever later, and some do not. Children tolerate high fevers better than adults, but 102 degrees F is a significant fever, especially for adults, says Randy Bergen, MD, a pediatric infectious disease consultant in Walnut Creek, California.

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The Difference Between Stomach Flu And The Flu

Have You Ever Heard of Norovirus?

Whether you call it the stomach flu or, more precisely, viral gastroenteritis, the highly contagious intestinal infection is no fun. Symptoms include watery diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, muscle aches, and mild headache that can last for several miserable days.

Because stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, is commonly referred to as flu, its easy to confuse it with influenza.

But the two illnesses are not the same.

Heres what you need to know about stomach flu and gastroenteritis symptoms and how they differ from influenza.

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Why Am I Experiencing Diarrhoea With The Flu

The flu can cause diarrhoea, particularly in children, or those who already suffer with digestive disorders, such as diverticulitis. It is more commonly seen with swine or avian flu.

When you are unwell, your digestive system can become more sensitive and less able to properly break down food and absorb nutrients efficiently. This can result in diarrhoea as food and fluid passes too quickly through the bowel.

Treatment Of Food Poisoning Vs Stomach Flu

Treating food poisoning and the stomach flu involves similar tactics. As with many viruses, treatment focuses on preventing dehydration and managing symptoms.

For most people, this can be done effectively at home. Treatment options include:

  • Staying hydrated with fluids like water or electrolyte-rich drinks
  • Slowly incorporating a BRAT diet when you’re able to keep food down
  • Getting plenty of rest to help your body heal
  • Using over-the-counter medications like Pepto-Bismol for an upset stomach, Imodium for mild diarrhea, or Tylenol for a fever
  • Taking prescription medications like Zofran or Reglan to treat symptoms of nausea and vomiting, if recommended by your healthcare provider

In certain cases of severe food poisoning, your provider may prescribe antibiotics for infections like shigellosis or an antiparasitic for infections caused by parasites.

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How To Treat Stomach Flu

When youre feeling miserable with stomach flu and other gastroenteritis symptoms, the last thing you want to hear is,

You just have to wait it out.

Unfortunately, theres no cure or treatment for the stomach flu.

There are, however, some things you can do to relieve symptoms:

  • Stay hydrated by taking small sips of clear liquids, such as water or broth.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks like coffee and black tea, as well as alcohol, which can make symptoms worse.
  • Stay away from foods that contain dairy, fiber, grease, and spices.

If you cant hold down fluids, gastroenteritis can lead to dehydration.

Symptoms of dehydration include weakness, dizziness upon standing, rapid heartrate and decreased urination.

Dehydration can be treated at urgent care centers like GoHealth Urgent Care with IV fluids and anti-nausea medications.

BUT if you have a fever or severe localized abdominal pain or pain concentrated in one area, you may be sent to the Emergency Department for advanced imaging and lab testing to make sure its not something more serious.

Are There Home Remedies To Help Me

Blood In Stool Flu

While the last thing you probably want to do when you have diarrhoea is to eat and drink, remember that severe diarrhoea can cause you to become very weak and dehydrated. It is important to drink plenty of water as you are losing a lot of fluid through bouts of diarrhoea.

Even if you have very little appetite during the first couple of days, try to eat a little dry bread or toast, to keep your blood sugar levels up. Some plain yoghurt should not aggravate your condition, and may even reduce symptoms of diarrhoea. It is important not eat sugary foods, fatty foods, or those which will aggravate an already sensitive digestive system.

Give yourself plenty of rest, as diarrhoea can cause you to feel weak. Exerting yourself while you are suffering from flu and diarrhoea will slow down your recovery.

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Diagnosis Of Food Poisoning

If you see a healthcare provider for suspected food poisoning, you can expect:

  • A review of your symptoms
  • Going over your medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Blood, urine, or stool tests to identify the potential source of infection

Testing is especially important in the case of a community outbreak.

You’re Having Stomach Issues

Having nausea with a coldas well as vomiting and diarrheaisn’t typical, so symptoms like these could signal something more serious, such as the flu.

It’s important to get medical attention if you’re experiencing these symptoms consistently, as they can cause you to become dehydrated, said Dr. Mysore.

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Stomach Flu And Diarrhea

Stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, is a highly contagious intestinal infection. Symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.

Stomach flu is not the same as influenza, which primarily affects the respiratory system. Stomach flu mainly affects the intestines and stomach.

A person can develop stomach flu from different viruses,

include :

  • Flu vaccines: Flu vaccines protect against the most common flu viruses. Anyone 6 months or older should receive a flu vaccine, as it can also help prevent high risk people from serious flu complications and illness.
  • Stopping the spread: Individuals should avoid contact with people who are sick with the flu, if possible. Similarly, if a person has the flu, they should limit their contact with others. Covering the nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing and not touching the face can also limit the spread of the flu.

People should also wash their hands thoroughly and regularly as well as disinfect surfaces.

Recognizing Early Flu Symptoms In Children

Mayo Clinic Minute: What to do when sick with a norovirus (or stomach flu)

Although most flu symptoms are the same for adults and children, there are a few differences. Children are common carriers of the flu virus and spread it quickly, and because they aren’t the best about hygiene practices , the flu spreads rapidly among kids.

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