Here at FluCamp we work hard to develop treatments against flu. But did you know there are different kinds of flu that circulate within our society?

Today we are going to explore one of those different kinds of flu. Gastroenteritis, the winter vomiting bug, or stomach flu is going to be the focus of this month’s blog.

What is Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis)?

Gastroenteritis is commonly known as stomach flu and is a virus that typically spikes up in severity during the winter months, hence it has also gained the title of the winter vomiting bug. This name tells you probably everything you need to know about this virus. It is caused by a virus named norovirus and typically affects young children more than it does adults, although anyone can be infected. 

Stomach flu is particularly unpleasant while you are sick with it, with the main symptoms being:

  • Sudden watery diarrhoea.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • A mild fever.

 The bright side is infections typically do not last long and recovery usually takes around a week. 

How to prevent

It is not always possible to prevent catching stomach flu. And you can be reinfected with norovirus several times, even if it is the same strain of the virus! The good news is you can significantly lower you chances of infection if you follow proper hygiene guidelines:

  • Wash you hands regularly with soap and hot water, especially after using the loo or preparing food.
  • Disinfect surfaces that could be dirty.
  • Maintain distance from those with a suspected infection.
  • Practice good food storage and hygiene.

If you or your child has recently had an infection with stomach flu, remember to:

  • Clean any contaminated towels and bedding.
  • Don’t share towels and utensils.
  • Clean the area surrounding the toilet regularly.

How to treat

Once you start to notice the symptoms of stomach flu you should <strong>stay at home until 48 hours after your symptoms have cleared</strong>. This is for everyone’s well being as well your own.

There is no quick fix solution to the stomach flu. You must wait for your body to get the infection in control. Typical infections should not require medical attention but if you are in any doubt don’t hesitate to call the 111 service for advice.

To help alleviate your symptoms you should:

  • Drink plenty of fluids to replenish the water your body will loose from vomiting and diarrhoea. Water is best, but fruit juice and soup will also do the trick.
  • Take paracetamol to ease any body aches and the fever.
  • Eat small amounts of plain food, bread, pasta, rice etc.
  • Get plenty of bed rest.

How is stomach flu different to flu (influenza)?

Stomach flu is undoubtedly different to influenza to anyone who has had either. The main differences between the two are that stomach flu affects the stomach and influenza affects the respiratory organs.

Symptom comparison:

To find out more about the symptoms of Influenza, check out our Stages of the flu – FluCamp blog. Or to see how other respiratory diseases compare to influenza, check out Key differences between cold, flu, hay fever & seasonal allergies – FluCamp.

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