Along with the common cold, viruses of all varieties pop up during the wintertime. Like the influenza that appears similar to a very bad cold, stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) is very common, affecting twenty-one million Americans each year. (1) Now that it’s stomach flu season, you may find it helpful to know what it is and what to do if it strikes you or your family.
Effective home remedies for stomach flu can help calm your symptoms and adequate rest are the best ways to get rid of the stomach flu as quickly as possible.
While you’re in the throes, you probably won’t feel much like eating; once you feel better, however, it’s important to get the right nourishment to restore what was lost and get your strength back. Your system will still be tender so we have some suggestions for what to eat after a stomach flu has passed.
Stomach Flu Vs. Food Poisoning
Stomach flu symptoms are similar to those of other types of flu with the extra special stomach distress added:
- joint and muscle aches
- stomach cramps
- loss of appetite/weight loss
These are similar to the symptoms of food poisoning so you may be not be sure which you’ve contracted. In the case of food poisoning, you can expect additional symptoms:
- heavy sweating
- extreme thirst
Food poisoning symptoms usually hit within a few hours of eating contaminated food. Stomach flu can take up to forty-eight hours after exposure to begin to affect you and the symptoms usually come on slowly.
Stomach Flu Causes
Like influenza, stomach flu is caused by a virus—usually one of the following:
- adenovirus – common in children, this type of virus affects tissue linings, including those of the upper respiratory tract, eyes, urinary tract, intestines, and nervous system
- norovirus – also known as “the winter vomiting bug”, this attacks the digestive system and is the most common cause of the stomach flu
- rotavirus – the most common cause of inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis) in children worldwide.