What is a stomach flu?
With a stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, there's an infection of the gastrointestinal tract. This can cause severe abdominal pain and diarrhea. The infection can be caused by viruses, bacteria and parasites and in many cases can be prevented by good hygiene.
What are symptoms of a stomach flu?
- Abdominal pain
Is a stomach flu serious and should I see a doctor?
A stomach flu is usually self limiting and not serious, but it can become dangerous when it persists for a long time. There's nothing wrong with letting a stomach flu run its course at home, but know when to contact a doctor.
Contact a doctor:
- When there's no improvement after 2 days
- Blood in the stool
- Vomiting blood
- No urination for over 12 hours
- Pregnancy and abdominal pain
- Pain radiating towards the chest and shoulders
- Abdominal pain that gets worse
- When you feel dizzy or disoriented
- Keep drinking water
- When you're losing a lot of fluid through vomiting or diarrhea, you can buy an ORS-solution for rehydration at a pharmacy
- When the stomach flu clears up, stay home an additional 3 days, because your still contagious during that time
- Don't prepare food for other people
- Don't share cutlery or dishes
- Avoid physical contact
Immediately contact a doctor:
What can I do about stomach flu myself?
How does a stomach flu affect my body?
With a stomach flu or gastroenteritis there's a bacterial, viral or parasitic infection of the gastrointestinal tract. These multiply in your stomach or intestines and irritate the inside of stomach lining or intestinal wall. This triggers the vomiting center in the brain, which causes vomiting, and can also cause the intestines to become hyperactive, resulting in diarrhea. This is all meant to eliminate the bacteria, viruses or parasites as quickly as possible.