Gastric flu is a condition caused by different viruses and it is considered to be very contagious. This infection that affects the intestines usually starts within hours or in three to six days after contracting the virus.
This condition is not really a flu as it is not related in any way to the influenza virus that causes the normal flu. Yet people often use terms “gastric flu” or “stomach flu” to describe this infection.
Symptoms of gastric flu are very uncomfortable but this condition passes quickly in most people. However this infection can be serious for very young children, elderly people and people whose immune system or general health is impaired in some way.
Gastric flu in most cases is contracted through contaminated food. This happens when food is not properly processed- cleaned and cooked at adequate temperatures.
Nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea, are among the most common symptoms of gastric flu. These symptoms may cause dehydration very quickly so keeping hydrated by taking sufficient amounts of fluid is very important. Dehydration is potentially very dangerous and should not be neglected.
Stomach pain, bloating and cramps often occur during gastric flu infection. If the pain is severe and long lasting it is advised to see a doctor as it may be a symptom of another more serious condition or illness.
Some people experience fever usually low grade during gastric flu but a general feeling of lethargy is more common. While some state that this illness can be “fought through” by continuing the every day activities, most experts agree that the best way to get better is to take it easy and rest and let the body fight the infection.
Diagnose of gastric flu is usually made based on the symptoms and in most cases there is no need for further tests. Since there is no treatment for gastric flu so the treatment usually aims to relieve the symptoms. This means that the doctors usually prescribe medication that stops the diarrhea or even some Tylenol for the pain.
The general consensus is that drinking plenty of fluids and resting is the best way to treat gastric flu.
Some people choose to try alternative medicines and home remedies against gastric flu and doubt some of them are efficient with no doubt like probiotics. Results of several studies have shown that yogurt helps with gastric flu and shortens its duration.
Gastric flu is non dangerous but its symptoms are sometimes similar to ones of a more serious disease so if they persist it is best to report them to a doctor.