Stomach Flu Causes
Stomach Virus Diagnosis
If you think you have Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis),
you may want to see your doctor. Doctors generally diagnose Stomach Flu (Viral
Gastroenteritis) based on the symptoms and a physical examination. Your doctor
may ask for a stool sample to test for rotavirus or to rule out bacteria or
parasites as the cause of your symptoms. No routine tests are currently
available for the other types of viruses.
Stomach Virus Treatment
Most cases of Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis) resolve
over time without specific treatment. Antibiotics are not effective against
viral infections. The primary goal of treatment is to reduce the symptoms, and
prompt treatment may be needed to prevent dehydration.
Your body needs fluids to function. Dehydration is the loss
of fluids from the body. Important salts or minerals, known as electrolytes,
can also be lost with the fluids. Dehydration can be caused by diarrhea,
vomiting, excessive urination, excessive sweating, or by not drinking enough
fluids because of nausea, difficulty swallowing, or loss of appetite.
In Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis), the combination of
diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration are
- dry mouth
- little or no
urine or dark yellow urine
- decreased tears
- severe weakness
- dizziness or
If you notice
any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Mild dehydration can be
treated by drinking liquids. Severe dehydration may require intravenous fluids
and hospitalization. Untreated severe dehydration can be life threatening.
special concerns. Because of their smaller body size, infants and children are
at greater risk of dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting. Oral rehydration
solutions such as Pedialyte can replace lost fluids, minerals, and salts.
steps may help relieve the symptoms of Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis).
- Allow your
gastrointestinal tract to settle by not eating for a few hours.
- Sip small
amounts of clear liquids or suck on ice chips if vomiting is still a problem.
- Give infants
and children oral rehydration solutions to replace fluids and lost
reintroduce food, starting with bland, easy-to-digest food, like toast, broth,
apples, bananas, and rice.
- Avoid dairy
products, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete.
- Get plenty of
Stomach Flu Prevention
Prevention is the only way to avoid Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis). No
vaccine is available. You can avoid infection by
- washing your
hands thoroughly for 20 seconds after using the bathroom or changing diapers
- washing your
hands thoroughly for 20 seconds before eating
disinfecting contaminated surfaces such as counter tops and baby changing
- not eating or
drinking foods or liquids that might be contaminated
Hope Through Research
The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases (NIDDK), through its Division of Digestive Diseases, supports basic
and clinical research into gastrointestinal diseases, including epithelial cell
injury in the gastrointestinal tract. New vaccines under development may
decrease the risk of infection, especially among infants and young children.
Important Points to Remember
- Stomach Flu
(Viral Gastroenteritis) is a highly contagious infection of the intestines
caused by one of several viruses.
sometimes called "stomach flu," Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis) is not
caused by the influenza virus and does not affect the stomach.
- The main
symptoms are watery diarrhea and vomiting.
- Anyone can get
Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis) through unwashed hands, close contact with
an infected person, or food and beverages that contain the virus.
- Diagnosis is
based on the symptoms and a physical examination. Currently only rotavirus can
be rapidly detected in a stool test.
- Stomach Flu
(Viral Gastroenteritis) has no specific treatment; antibiotics are not
effective against viruses. Treatment focuses on reducing the symptoms and
- The symptoms of
dehydration are excessive thirst, dry mouth, dark yellow urine or little or no
urine, decreased tears, severe weakness or lethargy, and dizziness or
- Infants, young
children, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems have a higher risk
of developing dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea.
- People with
Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis) should rest, drink clear liquids, and eat
- For infants and
young children, oral rehydration solutions can replace lost fluids, minerals,
- Avoid Stomach
Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis) by washing hands thoroughly after using the
bathroom or changing diapers, disinfecting contaminated surfaces, and avoiding
foods or liquids that might be contaminated.
For More Information
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30333
Phone: 1-800-311–-3435 or 404-639-3534
Back to Home page for Stomach