Stomach flu is one of the most common medical conditionsknown to mankind, as it affects a large number of people everywhere around theworld. One of the most important facts about this medical condition is that itis highly contagious and that it may affect people from all different agegroups. It should not be a cause of much concern because it can be relievedrather easily in most cases.
Stomach flu is a certain type of health condition which isalso medically referred to as gastroenteritis. Stomach flu is not the samemedical condition as flu. Flu is a completely different type of medicalcondition which is medically referred to as influenza. Flu shots which arecommonly used in order to prevent influenza from occurring actually do not haveany effect on the stomach flu. There are various different types of causes andfactors which are known for triggering the stomach flu. The winter variant ofstomach flu is commonly triggered by a certain type of virus which is calledthe Norwalk virus. Numerous different viruses may cause the onset of stomachflu, and Norwalk is one of them. Gastroenteritis is a sort of an umbrella termwhich refers to the medical condition that involves diarrhea and vomiting asits main symptoms. The stomach flu induced by the aforementioned Norwalk virusis different from the umbrella term mainly due to the fact that it does notinvolve diarrhea in a large number of cases and it mainly occurs during thewinter months. One should be well aware of the fact that Norwalk virus is oneof the most contagious types of viruses known to man. When a member of a familygets infected by this virus, there are high chances that it may be passed on toother family members, if not all of them. The Norwalk virus can be transmittedfrom person to person very easily, simply by touching the infected person orthrough saliva. When a person starts experiencing the symptoms of this medicalcondition, he or she may be contagious for up to three days. The minimum amountof time a person can be considered contagious after showing the symptoms ofNorwalk stomach flu is 24 hours. This is very important, because a person maystart feeling better without being aware that he or she is still contagious andpotentially dangerous for other people. It is mainly due to this fact, thatpatients should wait a day or two before getting back to all the daily tasks.
One of the biggest health concerns associated with vomiting is that it may be related to dehydration. Dehydration is considered as a very serious medical complication which is triggered by a significant loss of fluids, and in some severe cases it may even be fatal. According to most medicinal statistics, children are usually much more prone to dehydration than adult persons. This is why children need to drink as much fluids as possible. The drink needs to maintain a proper balance of sugar and salt because these essential elements are of utmost importance for the normal functioning of the entire body. There are numerous different types of so called electrolyte beverages available on the market which can be used for such purposes. The most popular ones which can be purchased virtually anywhere include Powerade, Gatorade and Pedialyte. Kool-Aid is another potent alternative in cases when the aforementioned types of beverages are not available. It needs to be dilated before the consumption in order to avoid excessive amounts of sweetness. Contrary to the popular belief, water is not considered as the best solution because it does not contain all the needed elements. Water needs to be consumed in small sips only, otherwise it may lead to even more bouts of nausea. There are certain drinks which need to be avoided, such as fruit juices, tea and all kinds of carbonated beverages. As far as the diet goes, the child can eat bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, which may all be summed up as BRAT.
Advices and Recommendations
The Merck manual says that the symptoms of stomach flu maystart kicking in after 4 to 72 hours after the person got infected. A personusually vomits every hour, for up to five hours. In most cases, the vomitingdoes not occur any more frequently than that. The Merck manual also says thatsports drinks which people often tend to use to replenish the much neededelectrolytes are not the best solution to the problem, while the Mayo clinicstrongly encourages the use of such types of beverages for the replenishing ofthe lost electrolytes. There are also several other medicinal sources whichclaim that sports drinks can do no harm do children who prefer those as thesource of the much needed electrolytes.
Stomach flu is not that much of a problem when handledproperly and good prevention is always better than any cure or remedy. Oneshould always wash the hands thoroughly in order to avoid being infected orspreading the virus further to other people.