Stomach Flu: An Overview

It is quite common site in the Emergency Room at various locations where on an everyday basis people both children and adults alike come with complaints of vomiting and diarrhea, which are symptoms suggestive of Stomach Flu or viral gastroenteritis as it is medically known. It is estimated that Stomach Flu is responsible for about a million emergency room visits in a year.

Advertisement

While adults may be helped by taking antiemetics and anti-diarrheal medications, same is not the case with the children as they need to be handled with care even more because of the sensitive nature of the stomach. The stomach contains millions of bacteria of which some are harmful and some are good for the body.

Advertisement

Probiotics are one such class of what may be called as medicine or a food supplement which fills the body in with good bacteria. Now, whether this is useful for an adult or a child is still under investigation but in this article we will study about the pros and cons of Probiotics and whether it really is helpful for conditions like Stomach Flu.

What Are Probiotics?

As stated, Probiotics are food supplements or medicines which contain live microorganism or bacteria that seem to be potentially beneficial for the body. Majority of Probiotics have strains of Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, and Streptococcus. These microorganisms can also be found naturally occurring in some foods like yogurt and cheese. They can also be found in fruits juices and some types of chocolates. Apart from these naturally occuring Probiotics supplements, there are also Probiotics pills and capsules present which contain plenty of good bacteria.

Advertisement

Are Probiotics Helpful For Stomach Flu?

Are Probiotics Helpful For Stomach Flu?

The million dollar question is whether Probiotics are helpful in people with Stomach Flu. Many reports and articles by reputed physicians and researchers suggest that there is evidence for some use of Probiotics generally given as a supplement, as being beneficial during the early stages of Stomach Flu and it can cut down the duration of symptoms by as much as one day which means that an individual with Stomach Flu with modest use of Probiotics will be able to go to work or school one day before the usual course of the illness meaning that there is less time off of work or school.

Research also suggests that Probiotics are quite beneficial in preventing diarrhea caused by consumption of antibiotics in otherwise healthy individuals even though there is no fool proof evidence of its success in treating this type of diarrhea. Some of the other researchers have also shown that Probiotics are quite helpful for conditions like Traveler’s diarrhea.

Are Probiotics Safe?

Another question that comes to the mind when using Probiotics is, whether it is safe to use. Studies have shown that an individual with a compromised immune system should not be given Probiotics. There have been cases of sepsis and even meningitis in people who have been given Probiotics and have an immune compromised state. If the individual is perfectly healthy then Probiotics is of significant benefit. Even in cases of Stomach Flu, if it reduces the symptoms by one day, it is good enough due to how miserable an individual feels due to persistent vomiting and diarrhea as a result of Stomach Flu. Research is still ongoing as to various other benefits that Probiotics may have on an individual with a condition like Stomach Flu.

In summary, it can be stated that if an individual is perfectly healthy and has no immune system issues then Probiotics is perfectly safe to use and has no undesirable side effects and is quite beneficial if used in the early stages of Stomach Flu; however, there is still a lot of research that is ongoing to find out more about the benefits of Probiotics on Stomach Flu.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: September 27, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

Advertisement

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

We'll help you live each day to the healthiest