First Aid Handbook: Stomach Flu

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Nobody wants to feel their stomach rumbling, whether it is from hunger or from a looming virus of some sort. Once you realize you are sick, how do you know the difference between food poisoning or if it is a symptom of a larger issue? While the stomach flu isn’t actually a flu, Integrity Urgent Care can offer a little information as a source of comfort while you deal with a stomach bug that has hit your home.

Symptoms

Most of what is labeled as the stomach flu is norovirus, spread when you “eat food or drink liquids that are contaminated with norovirus, touching surfaces or objects contaminated with norovirus and then put your fingers in your mouth, or having direct contact with someone who is infected with norovirus” according to the Center for Disease Control. Common symptoms are diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and stomach pain in various degrees. This is due to an inflammation of the stomach or the intestinal lining. Symptoms usually appear sometime between 12 to 48 hours of being exposed and lasting 1-3 days. There may also be common dehydration symptoms as it is difficult to keep up with eating and drinking during this time.

Treatment

At this time, there isn’t a tried-and-true method for curing this virus, you have to allow it to run its course. That said, you will need to drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Small sips of clear liquids as your body can allow, helps to stay on top of having a more serious issue arise. Once your body is better able to tolerate small sips of sports drinks, water, and clear liquids, your stomach may still feel a little sensitive. You will want to stick with bland foods in small amounts until your body is ready.

Prevention

We cannot stress enough the importance of washing your hands multiple times a day. Before and after preparing, serving, and eating food or drink, after being exposed to high touch surfaces, after using the restroom, and before touching your face are just a few times you should be washing your hands with soap and water. Additionally, wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly and heat food to keep your meals as safe as possible. Cleaning your home and laundry properly is a great way to prevent many illnesses.

When to See a Doctor

Dehydration is the biggest concern with the stomach flu, especially in babies and small children. Children may show dehydration by not being able to cry tears or being irritable. Adults frequently show symptoms with dry mouth, decreased urine output, and fatigue. Additionally, you should see our Integrity team if you have diarrhea that persists after several days or if vomiting increases or becomes bloody.

If you have a stomach flu and need help with dehydration, come see our Integrity team. We want you to feel better and to stay healthy and our team can help you get back on track. In addition to stomach flu concerns, we can help you with many other common ailments. Come see us today.

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