Gastroenteritis is the medical term for the stomach flu. It is a very serious condition that can occur in everyone, although it usually affects the children. The stomach flu is the inflammation of the stomach, small and large intestine. In the majority of cases, the inflammation is caused by some viruses, although there are also certain types of bacteria that can cause it.
When gastroenteritis occurs in children who are under 5 years of age, it can be very serious and life-threatening, since until now many children died from this gastrointestinal disorder. The stomach flu is a highly contagious infection and can be easily passed from person to person.
Symptoms of the stomach flu in children
The first symptoms of the stomach flu appear between the first and tenth day after the virus or bacteria entered the body. The time that passes from the virus or bacteria exposure to the appearance of the first symptoms is called stomach flu incubation period. The most common symptoms of the stomach flu are diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Therefore, in the majority of cases, the children become dehydrated. Furthermore, the children who suffer from gastroenteritis may also experience severe abdominal pain and abdominal cramps, as well as fever, chills, headache and pain in the muscles. Consequently, the children with this gastrointestinal disorder become weak and cannot eat.
Causes of stomach flu in children
Gastroenteritis is caused by certain types of bacteria and viruses. They multiple in the intestines and damage the cells of the intestines causing fluid leakage in cells. As a consequence, frequent watery diarrhea occurs. In the majority of cases, rotavirus is responsible for the occurrence of the stomach flu in children. The symptoms usually appear a day or two after the virus entered the body. The main symptoms are watery diarrhea and vomiting, which usually last for three to eight days.
Another virus that usually affects the infants under 2 years of age is called adenovirus. The first symptoms usually appear a week after the exposure to this virus. In winter season, astrovirus is the virus that usually causes the stomach flu. The main symptoms that appear are diarrhea and vomiting, which occur three days after the exposure to this virus. Calicivirus and norovirus are two viruses that are also responsible for the occurrence of the gastroenteritis in children. They usually cause diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, muscle pain and headache. These two viruses can cause the infection in adults, too.