What Causes Stomach Flu?

Stomach Flu, which is medically known as gastroenteritis, is basically caused by different types of viruses commonly found in the environment of which the most common is Norovirus, Adenovirus, Rotavirus and the like but there are certain bacteria that can also cause symptoms similar to Stomach Flu like E. Coli or salmonella. Vomiting and diarrhea are the most common symptoms of Stomach Flu along with fever, nausea, pain in the stomach, and weakness.

These symptoms of stomach flu may at times be so severe that an individual may become bedridden for several days before the symptoms start to abate and the individual can get back to normal life. Poor hygiene is mostly to blame for Stomach Flu caused by viruses and bacteria. In this article, we give a brief overview of how long does Stomach Flu last and whether Stomach Flu is contagious or not.

How Long Does Stomach Flu Last & is it Contagious?

How Long Does Stomach Flu Last?

Coming to how long does Stomach Flu last, then in majority of cases of Stomach Flu, the symptoms start to calm down within a span of three to four days but may tend to have persistent diarrhea for as long as may be a week to 10 days but this depends on the virus which has caused the Stomach Flu in the first place. Another symptom for Stomach Flu, which is vomiting, usually stops within a day of the onset of symptoms by taking adequate antiemetics.

In case if the vomiting persists even after proper medication use for greater than a day and the diarrhea persists for greater than a week then it is recommended to visit a physician for more thorough intervention and hasten the recovery process.

It is also recommended to watch for other symptoms which may accompany diarrhea and vomiting like dehydration which is quite common in Stomach Flu, as additional treatment may be required for dehydration as well. Emergent treatment is required if you have Stomach Flu symptoms along with severe stomachache, headaches, blood in the vomit or stool, and altered mental status.

Is Stomach Flu Contagious?

The answer to this question is yes an individual who has had a recent Stomach Flu is contagious for some period of time post the infection depending on the type of virus which caused the Stomach Flu in the first place. Below mentioned are the time periods for which an individual is contagious from Stomach Flu caused by a specific type of virus:

Norovirus: This is the most common cause of Stomach Flu in adults and children alike. An individual with Stomach Flu caused by this virus becomes contagious the moment there is a general sense of feeling sick and ill with the symptoms following within a day. Even though the individual may feel better after a couple of days, he or she still remains contagious and may pass on the condition to someone else for up to three to four days. Some people may remain contagious even for up to a week after complete recovery from Stomach Flu.

Rotavirus: This virus is also one of the common causes of Stomach Flu in adults and children. The symptoms usually appear two to three days after getting infected and the patient may remain contagious for up to a couple of weeks after being fully recovered from Stomach Flu

An individual may spread the viruses causing Stomach Flu by direct contact, sharing clothes or utensils, sharing food, and touching contaminated utensils. Hence it is recommended to wash hands thoroughly before eating and use a sanitizer if an individual is in close contact with a person who has recently been infected by Stomach Flu.

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Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 2, 2017

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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