The stomach flu is a kind of intestinal infection that causes an inflamed stomach and intestines. Also called viral gastroenteritis, it is considered highly contagious and easily spreads from one person to the next. It can spread through contaminated food or water and by coming into close contact with infected persons. A person who has severe symptoms should seek urgent care in California right away for treatment.
Stomach flu symptoms typically begin to show within 24-48 hours after infection and may include headache, clammy skin, abdominal pain, fever, diarrhea, muscle aches, and loss of appetite. These symptoms can last anywhere from 1-10 days and require urgent after-hours care if diarrhea lasts for more than 3 days without lessening in frequency and if blood is present.
Due to its symptoms, the stomach flu is sometimes mistaken for digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease. The stomach flu can also be mistaken for lactose or fructose intolerance. In some cases, certain medications like antacids or antibiotics can cause similar symptoms as well.
Without proper treatment from a health care clinic, the stomach flu can cause complications. In addition to national imbalances and overall weakness, it can also lead to nausea and lethargy caused by dehydration.
For prevention, practice proper handwashing techniques and use hand sanitizer if water and soap are unavailable. Avoid eating undercooked or raw food and avoid sharing eating utensils if a loved one in the household is sick. It is also important to wash ingredients carefully and take special precautions to food and water when traveling.