Stomach Flu Causes And Risk Factors
What are stomach flu causes? A number of different viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu including noroviruses and rotaviruses. First, lets talk about the norovirus, which is said to be the number one cause of viral gastroenteritis in children and adults. If your stomach flu is caused by the norovirus, then the period during which you are contagious starts from the time you start to feel sick up until three days after you are better with some individuals being contagious as long as two weeks following their recovery. The norovirus causes stomach flu symptoms within a day or two of being exposed to the virus. On the plus side, most people who have the stomach flu due to norovirus feel better within 24 to 48 hours.
Another virus, the rotavirus, is the top cause of stomach flu in kids and infants, but it can also affect adults. Symptoms usually begin within one to three days of exposure. However, with this virus at the root, the stomach flu can be caught from someone before symptoms appear and even up to two weeks following recovery! Astrovirus and enteric adenovirus can also cause stomach flu.
How do you catch these viruses and end up with the stomach flu? The stool and vomit of infected individuals contain the viruses that cause stomach flu. The viruses that can cause a case of the stomach flu can easily spread from close contact with infected individuals through the following:
So how do you get rid of the stomach flu?
Avoid Other People And Practice Good Hygiene
Although it wont do anything to ease your symptoms or help you get over the flu faster, its important to minimize contact with other people while youre sick and for at least 24 hours after flu symptoms go away in order to stop the spread of the disease. The flu is highly contagious and can spread easily through the air. Quarantine yourself in a room of your house if you live with others practice proper hand hygiene with warm water and antibacterial soap and if for any reason you need to go out, be sure to wear a face mask.
Of course, the best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year. According to the CDC, studies show that flu vaccinations can reduce the risk of the flu by 40%-60% in the overall population.
What Health Problems Can Flu Cause In Children
Complications from flu in children younger than 5 years old include:
- Making chronic health conditions, like heart disease or asthma, worse
- Brain problems, like encephalopathy. Encephalopathy is any brain disease that affects the brains structure or how the brain works.
- Dehydration. This means not having enough water in your body.
- Pneumonia. This is an infection in one or both lungs.
- Sinus problems and ear infections. Sinuses are hollow air spaces within the bones around the nose. Sinus infections can happen when fluid builds up in the sinuses.
- Death. Flu complications can sometimes lead to death, but this is rare.
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Can The Flu Be Prevented
There is a vaccine available for the flu, and its recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months has a flu vaccination every year.
Flu viruses circulating in the community continually change, and the immunity provided by the vaccine doesnt last a long time. That’s why yearly vaccination is recommended.
For more information about the flu vaccine, see Flu Vaccine FAQs.
Everyday items at home and in public places can easily become contaminated with traces of these viruses including food, door handles, remote controls, handrails, telephone handsets and computer keyboards.
Good hygiene is one of the best ways to help prevent colds and flu and to prevent them from spreading.
When Should I Get Vaccinated
You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Make plans to get vaccinated early in the fall, before flu season begins. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. However, getting vaccinated early is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults. Vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later. Children who need two doses of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner of vaccine to be protected should start the vaccination process sooner because the two doses must be given at least four weeks apart.
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What Protection Does A Flu Vaccine Provide If I Do Get Sick With The Flu
Some people who get vaccinated may still get sick. However, flu vaccination has been shown in some studies to reduce the severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick. A 2017 study showed that flu vaccination reduced deaths, intensive care unit admissions, ICU length of stay, and overall duration of hospitalization among hospitalized adults with flu. Another study in 2018 showed that a vaccinated adult who was hospitalized with the flu was 59 percent less likely to be admitted to the ICU than someone who had not been vaccinated. Among adults in the ICU with flu, vaccinated patients on average spent 4 fewer days in the hospital than those who were not vaccinated.
When To See A Doctor
Most people who get the flu can treat themselves at home and often don’t need to see a doctor.
If you have flu symptoms and are at risk of complications, see your doctor right away. Taking antiviral drugs within the first 48 hours after you first notice symptoms may reduce the length of your illness and help prevent more-serious problems.
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How Much Does Getting A Flu Vaccine Cost
Most people can get a flu vaccine for little to no out-of-pocket cost. Medicare and most private health insurance plans will cover the cost of your flu vaccine. However, some insurance plans require that you receive your vaccine at a specific location. Check with your insurance company. If you do not have health insurance, contact your local or state health department.
The Flu Vaccine And The Coronavirus Pandemic
Those more at risk of getting flu are also more at risk of COVID 19. If you have the flu vaccine, you are helping to protect yourself from flu and any problems and hospital admissions this could lead to. This is even more important while COVID 19 is in circulation. You are also helping to reduce pressure on NHS services.
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What Are Some Common Flu Shot Side Effects
Some people do experience side effects after getting their flu shot. Of those who do, they are usually very mild and diminish on their own. The CDC outlines a few of the more common flu shot side effects:
- Soreness or swelling from the shot
- Muscle ache
These flu shot side effects are perfectly normal. However, there are a few other flu shot side effects that are not as common. These are very rare and may indicate an allergic reaction:
- Wheezing or difficulty breathing
- Swelling around the eyes or lips
- Hives or paleness
- Dizziness or weakness
Flu: What To Do If You Get Sick
Influenza can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
- fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*Its important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
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The Best Treatment Is To Take Steps To Prevent Illness
Few common illnesses are more unpleasant than the flu. The aches and pains, chills, fever, and cough are bad enough add in the other potential symptoms of flu, including runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, or sore throat, and you’ll want the illness to be over as soon as possible. How long does the flu last? And does treating flu help make it go away faster? The answers depend on your particular health.
Bonus Step: Get Your Annual Flu Shot This Year And Every Year
There are many reasons why you should get a flu shot, even if youve heard any flu shot myths to the contrary. When you get a flu shot, youre up to 60% less likely to get the flu, according to the CDC. And studies also show that if you do get sick with the flu, your symptoms will be less severe and youre less likely to need hospital care to recover.
Flu shots are typically available starting in early September, and its highly recommended that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated by the end of October. Its safe to get the flu shot while pregnant, so pregnant people particularly those in the third trimester of pregnancy should receive a flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
For kids between 6 months and 8 years old, whove never been vaccinated against the flu before, two doses will be needed. Its a good idea to plan to get the first dose as soon as the vaccine is available so the second dose can be received by the end of October. If kids have had a flu shot before, just one dose is needed.
Getting a flu shot is quick and easy. All you need to do is make a flu shot appointment at a time and clinic location that is most convenient for you. Since the shot takes just a couple minutes to prepare and administer, youll be in and out.
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How Can You Stop The Flu From Spreading
Everyone 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine. This means you, especially if you have or take care of a baby younger than 6 months. Getting a flu vaccine can help keep you from spreading the flu.
If you or your child has the flu, you can spread it to others. Heres how to help prevent the flu from spreading:
- Keep your child home from day care, school or camp for at least 24 hours after her fever is gone. The fever should be gone without using a medicine that lowers fever.
- Avoid contact with other people.
- Dont kiss your baby and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Teach your child to cough or sneeze into a tissue or his arm. Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Wash your hands with soap and water before and after caring for your baby. You also can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Use enough hand sanitizer so that it takes at least 15 seconds for your hands to dry.
- Clean surfaces and toys that may have the flu virus on them.
- Use hot, soapy water or a dishwasher to clean your babys dishes and utensils.
- Dont share any of your babys dishes, glasses, utensils or his toothbrush.
How Is Flu Treated In Babies And Children
Your babys provider may prescribe an antiviral medicine to prevent or treat the flu. An antiviral is a medicine that kills infections caused by viruses. Antivirals can make your babys flu milder and help your baby feel better faster. Antivirals also can help prevent serious flu complications, like a lung infection called pneumonia. For flu, antivirals work best if used within 2 days of having signs or symptoms.
If your baby is at high risk for flu, his provider may prescribe an antiviral as soon as he begins to have flu symptoms. All children younger than 5 are at high risk for flu, especially children younger than 2. Children who were born prematurely or who have chronic health conditions, like asthma or sickle cell disease, also are at high risk.
Three medicines are approved in the United States for preventing or treating the flu in children:
If your child has the flu, help him get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. He may not want to eat much. Try giving him small meals to help his body get better.
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No One Wants To Be Hit By The Flu So Stopping It In Its Tracks Is Crucial
With one of the worst flu seasons in decades in full swing, this is the best time to make sure you have the necessary tools to bounce back in case you or your loved ones are affected.
So what are the best ways to give your immune system a much-needed boost? Here are eight tips for dealing with the flu without resorting to unnecessary antibiotics or gut-killing pain relievers like Ibuprofen.
Concerned What Youre Feeling May Be Covid
Both COVID-19 and the seasonal flu are highly contagious respiratory illnesses, which means they share some similar symptoms like high-grade fever, chills, cough, headache and more.
But there are some distinct differences, including how quickly symptoms set in, and cough type and severity. Also, there are some symptoms that are far more consistent with COVID-19 like shortness of breath or new loss of taste or smell.
If you want to know more, check out our post on . If you think you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, you can schedule a video visit to talk with a doctor about your symptoms and if you should .
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Will There Be Flu Along With Covid
While its not possible to say with certainty what will happen in the fall and winter, CDC believes its likely that flu viruses and the virus that causes COVID-19 will both be spreading. In this context, getting a flu vaccine will be more important than ever. CDC recommends that all people 6 months and older get a yearly flu vaccine.
Can A Flu Vaccine Give Me Flu
No, a flu vaccine cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines that are administered with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been killed and are therefore not infectious, or b) with proteins from a flu vaccine virus instead of flu vaccine viruses . The nasal spray vaccine is made with attenuated live flu viruses, and also cannot cause flu illness. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they are designed to only cause infection at the cooler temperatures found within the nose. The viruses cannot infect the lungs or other areas where warmer temperatures exist.
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How Can You Treat The Flu
For most people, the flu is mild enough that it does not require medical treatment. The flu will typically run its course within a week. However, sometimes the flu can make people very sick, especially if they are a high-risk population, such as very young children or the elderly.
A doctor can prescribe you antiviral drugs to help you recover more quickly. They can also lessen the severity of your symptoms. Antiviral drugs are most effective when they are taken within two days of falling ill.
Check If You Have Flu
Flu symptoms come on very quickly and can include:
- a sudden high temperature of 38C or above
- an aching body
- diarrhoea or tummy pain
- feeling sick and being sick
The symptoms are similar for children, but they can also get pain in their ear and appear less active.
Cold and flu symptoms are similar, but flu tends to be more severe.
|Appears quickly within a few hours||Appears gradually|
|Affects more than just your nose and throat||Affects mainly your nose and throat|
|Makes you feel exhausted and too unwell to carry on as normal||Makes you feel unwell, but you’re OK to carry on as normal|
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When You First Get Sick
Most people will only have mild-to-moderate flu symptoms, and they may only experience some of the possible symptoms of the disease.
The CDC recommend that people who experience any flu symptoms should stay home and rest. They should only leave home to make necessary trips, such as to see their doctor or buy groceries.
Staying inside and resting will help the body fight off the virus. It will also reduce the risk of it spreading to other people.
A person should talk to a doctor as soon as possible after any signs of the flu occur. Doing this is particularly important for people at risk of complications, such as older adults and people who smoke.
The also recommend talking to a doctor about antiviral medication during a local flu outbreak. Antiviral medications can prevent severe symptoms and shorten the duration of the illness.
According to the NIH, an antiviral medication is most effective within the first 48 hours of developing symptoms. Therefore, it is best to talk to a doctor as soon as possible about these treatments.
A doctor may also prescribe an antibiotic if there is a risk of other bacterial infections, such as pneumonia.