Intestinal flu, also referred to as stomach flu, is a common condition that afflicts most people at one time in their lives. In fact, people often experience this illness several times during their lifetimes. Intestinal flu is usually caused by a virus. It often comes on suddenly but usually only lasts 1 to 2 days. It normally resolves on its own with no adverse effects.
Although symptoms may vary, the most common symptoms of intestinal flu include abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Intestinal flu is often accompanied by influenza or cold symptoms such as a mild fever, sore throat and nasal congestion.
Intestinal flu hits hard, leaving you feeling drained. Get plenty of rest to recuperate. Bed rest for a day or two can help you regain your energy after a bout of stomach flu.
There is always the danger of becoming dehydrated when diarrhea and vomiting occur, especially if these are severe. Drink plenty of fluids such as Gatorade and ginger ale to keep hydrated. It is best to start by sipping water slowly, since drinking too much too quickly can cause vomiting and more diarrhea.
Treatment is usually symptomatic. Antibiotics will not be of any use for intestinal flu caused by viruses. Over-the-counter medication can be helpful to relieve the discomfort of fever, headache, sore throat and nasal congestion. Eating a diet of light, bland foods such as crackers, dry toast and jello is easier on the digestive tract and can relieve nausea.
It is best to seek medical attention if diarrhea persists longer than a couple of days. There are several other conditions such as food poisoning that may produce similar symptoms. Treatment may be necessary if symptoms worsen or persist.
Intestinal flu can be caused by other factors such as bacteria. The spread of bacteria can be prevented by simple measures such as handwashing and proper handling and preparing of food.