Stomach Flu Symptoms and Possible Treatments
Stomach flu is a term that generally refers to the condition of having a bout of stomach flu. However, it could also be an expression of difficulty in swallowing a thing because of the discomfort felt in the region. Those who are affected by this kind of illness often complain of
- Pain in the chest
Stomach flu symptoms may be more pronounced at night, because there is an increase in immune system activity that release infection-fighting chemicals. These can cause inflammation that make you feel worse as you battle your flu. You might get a fever when you have stomach flu.
Fever can be a sign that your body is fighting an infection. You may feel sweaty, clammy or have the chills. You may also get a headache or ache all over your body. A number of conditions may lead to the development of stomach flu (gastroenteritis).
Symptoms of Stomach Flu
The most common of these conditions is streptococcus bacteria, which are present in the gastrointestinal tract. Streptococcus bacteria may cause abdominal pain, indigestion, abdominal cramps and severe fatigue among other gastrointestinal complaints.
Streptococcus is a genus of gram-positive coccus or spherical bacteria that belongs to the family Streptococcaceae, within the order Lactobacillales in the phylum Firmicutes. The cell division in streptococci occurs along a single axis, so as they grow, they tend to form pairs or chains that may appear bent or twisted.
The stomach flu symptoms can be classified into two groups; acute and chronic. Acute symptoms include fever, intense pain, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. The duration of the illness may vary from one day to a few weeks.
As far as chronic stomach flu symptoms are concerned, patients may have a recurrence of the symptoms after having recovered from their initial bouts of vomiting and diarrhoea. The upper respiratory tract infections may also give rise to gastrointestinal disturbances.
- Shortness of breath
- Discharge of mucus from the nose and eyes
- Pain in the chest and headache are some of the common symptoms.
- Lethargy and low energy levels can also be felt.
Gout and rheumatoid arthritis
These are two other common causes of a person suffering from stomach problems. Rheumatoid arthritis is generally felt in the lower back, hips and thighs and the appearance of gout in the lower part of the legs and feet may cause swelling, pain and fever. Hyperesthesia is also experienced in some patients.
A person may feel sleepy, tired and even dizzy when he is affected by this disease. Diarrhoea and abdominal pains and fever are the most common forms of nausea and vomiting in some gastrointestinal disorders. When this happens, patients may experience symptoms like
- Pain in the chest
- Loss of appetite
Sleepiness and malaise are also common stomach flu symptoms. They may happen in a patient after not feeling well for a period of time. This may also be seen as a symptom of something much more serious. Pain is another common symptom of stomach flu.
The pain may be felt in the lower portion of the abdomen, thigh, lower back or shoulders. Severe and prolonged pains can cause serious harm to the body. Sometimes the problem may be due to infection in the digestive tract. During the healing process, the immune system is supposed to produce antibodies that prevent further attack by infectious agents.
Gastric ulcers may also result in stomach flu symptoms. These are visible sores on the stomach that have the same symptoms as the gastrointestinal disorders mentioned above. There are some symptoms that cannot be determined as stomach flu symptoms because they are linked to many other causes.
These causes include diseases like
- Pulmonary tuberculosis
- Streptococcal bacteremia
- Skin diseases
- Cancer and many others.
In some cases, there are no known symptoms of stomach flu but certain factors may trigger the illness. Other health conditions like
- Metabolic disorders
- Brain tumours
- Hyperthyroidism may also cause stomach flu symptoms.
Gastroenteritis can be a recurring health problem. Therefore, a patient should consult his doctor so that he can be kept well. Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, the stomach and small intestine. The symptoms may include diarrhoea, vomiting and abdominal pain.
It is usually caused by viruses. However, bacteria, parasites, and fungus can also cause gastroenteritis. In children, rotavirus is the most common cause of severe disease.
Eating improperly prepared food, drinking contaminated water or close contact with a person who is infected can spread the disease. The treatment is generally the same with or without a definitive diagnosis, so testing to confirm is usually not needed.
How to prevent Stomach Flu
- Hand washing with soap
- Drinking clean water
- Breastfeeding babies instead of using formula
- Proper disposal of human waste.
- The rotavirus vaccine is recommended as a prevention for children.
Children infected with rotavirus usually make a full recovery within 3 to 8 days. However, in poor countries treatment for severe infections is often out of reach and persistent diarrhoea is common.
Best Stomach Flu Treatment
Drinking plenty fluids
Fluids has been prescribed as critically important since you are losing vital bodily fluids through sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you are having trouble keeping liquids down, try taking small sips at regular intervals or chewing ice chips. The best fluids you can drink are:
- Clear liquids, such as water and broth
- Over-the-counter preparations like Pedialyte (good choice for any age)
- Sports drinks, which can help with electrolyte replacement (this should be reserved for older children and adults)
- Certain teas, such as ginger and peppermint, which can help calm your stomach and alleviate nausea (avoid highly caffeinated teas)
You should try Acupressure for Nausea reduction
According to research by US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, acupressure has been shown to be effective in treating some types of nausea. The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center suggests finding pressure point P-6 by measuring the width of three fingers down from the bottom of your palm.
You will need to press below that width with your thumb and you’ll feel a sensitive spot between two tendons. Gently massage with your thumb for two or three minutes. Sea-Bands are a product worn on the wrists. These can be useful in treating nausea if the P-6 acupressure point gives you relief.
Using Medication with Caution
Stomach flu cannot be cured by medications, and antibiotics won’t help when a virus is the culprit. You can take over-the-counter medication to treat the stomach flu symptoms, but do so sparingly. For fever or aches, ibuprofen (Advil) can help, as long as it doesn’t cause you to have more of an upset stomach.
It can also be hard on your kidneys if you get dehydrated. Take it sparingly and with food.
Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is often recommended for the stomach flu, unless you have liver disease. It relieves fever and aches, has fewer side effects than ibuprofen, and is less likely to irritate your stomach.
If you are seeking relief from nausea or diarrhea, there are some prescription medications that can ease your symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe an antiemetic such as promethazine, prochlorperazine, metoclopramide, or ondansetron to stop the nausea and vomiting.
You can also try an over-the-counter antidiarrheal medication, such as loperamide hydrochloride (Imodium) or bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol). Check with your doctor before trying over-the-counter options.
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