Stomach Virus: All Your Questions Answered

Stomach Virus: All Your Questions Answered

Mar 01, 2020

Although we refer to a stomach bug as flu, they are not the same cause. Another misconception of a stomach virus is that it’s similar to food poising, but also that’s not true.

Knowing the causes and manifestation of the stomach will help you choose the right treatment. In this post, we answer some of the common questions about the stomach virus.

What is a Stomach Virus and Its Causes?

Most people call it stomach flu, but the doctors refer to it as gastroenteritis. This is an inflammation and irritation of the intestines caused by a virus, specifically norovirus, although children can also be affected by rotavirus.

Norovirus is a highly contagious stomach virus, and it causes symptoms 24 hours after contact. The stomach virus spreads in two different ways: eating contaminated food or coming into direct contact with an infected person or surface.

What Is the Difference Between Stomach Virus a Food Poisoning?

Although most people use them interchangeably, food poisoning and stomach bug are different. While a virus solely causes the stomach virus, food poisoning can be caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites.

Furthermore, the stomach virus is transmitted from person to person, and the symptoms appear 24 hours after contact.

Symptoms of food poisoning develop within a few hours after eating contaminated food, either raw or poorly uncooked food.

Stomach virus symptoms include:

  • Watery non-bloody diarrhea. If you have bloody diarrhea, chances are you have a severe infection, and you should visit the nearest emergency room for assessment.
  • Nausea or vomiting or both
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Headaches and muscle aches
  • Low-grade fever

These stomach virus symptoms can be mild or severe, and they can last for a day or up to ten days.

Food poisoning symptoms include watery diarrhea, chills, vomiting, fever, dizziness, and stomach pain.

It is important to monitor the symptoms and visit our Harker Heights emergency room when you are vomiting blood, dehydrated, blood in bowel movements, have a high fever, and you are not able to keep your fluids down.

Is Stomach Virus Contagious?

Yes, highly contagious. A person can be contagious from the onset of the symptoms and a few days after you have recovered. You should, therefore, avoid going to crowded places if you have the virus to prevent spreading it to other people.

What is The Available Treatment?

There is no specific treatment available for a stomach virus, but it can be managed at home with these remedies:

  • Stop eating solid foods until the virus clears to give your stomach a rest. When you resume eating, start with the east-to-digest foods
  • Hydrate and avoid sugary or caffeinated drinks
  • Avoid foods such as dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol
  • Rest
  • Avoid over-the-counter medication unless advised otherwise by the doctor as they can make the symptoms worse.

Are There Risk Factors?

Yes, some people are more at risk of stomach virus because of certain factors such as:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Age. Both younger and older adults are more vulnerable
  • People living in crowded places such as schools and churches

What Complications Can Develop?

Dehydration is the primary complication of stomach virus because of vomiting and diarrhea. Drinking enough water during this period is crucial to keep the body water at optimal levels. In severe dehydration, you may need hospital admission for intravenous rehydration. Walk into a clinic near you when you notice less urination, fatigue, dizziness, and lethargy.

Can Stomach Virus Be Prevented?

Yes, it is preventable by taking the necessary precautions such as:

  • Maintaining proper hygiene
  • Getting vaccinated against gastroenteritis
  • Avoid contact with an infected person
  • Disinfect the surface
  • Wash your vegetables properly and cook food thoroughly especially the meat products
  • Clean contaminated clothes with hot water separately

Don’t Take Chances

Although stomach virus clears within days, it is vital to seek urgent care immediately if you notice abnormal symptoms such as bloody stool. At Express ER in Harker Heights, we have a 24-hour emergency room with dedicated personnel to handle all kinds of emergencies, so don’t hesitate to contact us.



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