Stomach virus (viral enteritis) is a gastrointestinal infection. It has a 1 to 3 days incubation period during which no symptoms appear. Symptoms normally last one to two days after they start, though they can persist for up to ten days.
This is especially true for the elderly.
Symptoms of stomach virus include:
Diarrhea \ vomiting
A decrease in appetite
A low-grade fever (in some cases)
The vomiting produced by the stomach virus usually stops within a day or two, but diarrhea can linger for several days. The vomiting in toddlers and children normally stops within 24 hours of the commencement of symptoms, but diarrhea can last for another day or two.
These symptoms can last for up to ten days in certain cases.
For most people with healthy immune systems, stomach viruses aren’t a dangerous illness. If it causes dehydration and isn’t treated, it can be deadly for newborns, toddlers, children, and the elderly.
When it comes to stomach flu, food poisoning, and seasonal flu, what’s the difference?
Food poisoning, which usually occurs within hours of ingesting a contaminated foodstuff, is not the same as stomach flu. Food poisoning has symptoms that are comparable to stomach flu. Food poisoning symptoms usually last one to two days.
Seasonal flu, which causes cold-like symptoms that last one to two weeks, is not the same as stomach flu.
How long do you think you’ll be contagious?
The stomach flu is highly contagious. The sort of virus you have determines how long you will be contagious. The most prevalent cause of stomach flu is norovirus. Norovirus stomach flu patients become contagious as soon as symptoms begin and remain contagious for several days.
Norovirus can live in your feces for up to two weeks. This puts caregivers who change diapers at risk of becoming infected unless they take precautions like cleaning their hands right away.
In infants, toddlers, and children, rotavirus is the most common cause of stomach flu. During the incubation phase (one to three days) before symptoms manifest, the rotavirus-caused stomach flu is contagious.
People who have been infected with this virus can spread it for up to two weeks after they have recovered.
For babies and small children
An oral rehydration solution (ORS) can help prevent or treat dehydration in young children. Pedialyte and Enfalyte, two ORS beverages, are accessible without a prescription.
They can be taken a few teaspoons at a time over the course of three to four hours. Every five minutes, give your youngster one to two teaspoons. ORS liquids can also be administered to babies in a bottle.
Unless your kid is vomiting frequently, continue to provide your breast to them if you’re nursing. The formula can be given to formula-fed newborns provided they are not dehydrated and can keep fluids down.
If your baby has been vomiting, whether they’ve been breastfed, bottle-fed, or formula-fed, modest volumes of ORS liquids should be given via bottle 15 to 20 minutes after vomiting.
Anti-diarrheal medication should only be given to babies and children if their doctor approves it. These treatments may make it more difficult for them to get rid of the virus.
What adults and older children should do
When adults and older children are sick with stomach flu, they usually lose their appetite.
Even if you’re hungry, don’t consume too much food too quickly. While you’re vomiting, you shouldn’t take solid food at all.
When you feel better and your nausea and vomiting have subsided, choose foods that are easier to digest. This may help you avoid more stomach discomfort.
While you’re recovering, a bland diet like the BRAT diet is an excellent idea. Bananas, rice, applesauce, and bread, among other starchy, low-fiber items in the BRAT diet, help firm up stool and prevent diarrhea.
Low-fiber bread (such as white bread without butter) and sugar-free applesauce are both good choices. You can gradually increase the amount of easy-to-digest items you eat, such as plain baked potatoes and plain crackers, as you feel better.
Avoid foods that may irritate your stomach or cause extra bouts of nausea or diarrhea while you’re recuperating, such as:
Meals that are fatty or greasy
Meals with a kick
Foods that are high in fiber
Meals that are difficult to digest, such as meat and dairy products
When should you look for help?
Stomach flu normally goes away on its own after a few days, but it can also be treated by a doctor.
If fever or vomiting persists for more than a few hours, infants and babies with stomach flu should contact a doctor. If your baby appears to be dehydrated, consult a doctor right away.
Dehydration in newborns manifests itself in the following ways:
eyes that are sunken
sunken soft spot (fontanel) on the top of the head dry skin lack of a wet diaper in six hours few or no tears while weeping sunken soft spot (fontanel) on the top of the head
For toddlers and children, there are several reasons to see a doctor:
stomach pains distended stomach
diarrhea that is severe and explosive
Severe vomiting fever that does not respond to therapy, lasts more than 24 hours or is higher than 103°F (39.4°C)
infrequent urination or dehydration
blood in the stool or vomit
If symptoms are severe and linger longer than three days, adults and the elderly should seek medical attention. A doctor should be seen if there is blood in the vomit or stool. If you can’t rehydrate, you should seek medical attention right away.
Adults who are dehydrated show the following symptoms:
The skin is dry and there is no perspiration.
Dark urine, little or no urination, sunken eyes, and fast heartbeat or breathing
The stomach viruses usually go away on their own within a few days. Dehydration is the most serious problem, especially for newborns, toddlers, children, and the elderly. Call your doctor if you can’t rehydrate at home.