Stomach Flu - Symptoms & Causes

Typically when a person contracts diarrhea or vomiting, they are known to be suffering from stomach flu. This stomach flu is also technically known as gastroenteritis. There are many reasons why a person might suffer from stomach flu. A viral and bacterial infection are usually the culprits. However, there are other unusual reasons why stomach flu might occur, which is why one should always be careful.

Causes of stomach flu/gastroenteritis

  • Viral infection

  • Contaminated food or water

  • Contact with someone who has the virus

  • Not keeping proper hygiene

Viral infection is the main cause leading to gastroenteritis flu. In this, rotavirus is the world’s most common cause of diarrhea in infants and young children. Norovirus is also a type of this viral infection considered responsible for severe gastroenteritis. Bacteria such as E. coli and salmonella are the unusual kinds of bacteria that have been reported to lead to stomach flu.

Make it a point to wash hands after going to the bathroom, and at regular intervals for good hygiene. Apart from these known causes, there are some unusual causes that have led to stomach flu in a number of people. Some of them are:

  • Eating a lot of acidic foods, like citrus fruit and tomatoes

  • Toxins that might be found in certain seafood

  • Heavy metal content like arsenic, cadmium etc. in drinking water

  • Medications such as antibiotics, antacids, and chemotherapy drugs


During stomach flu, the stomach becomes irritated and the intestines become inflamed. Some of the most common symptoms of stomach flu are:

  • Loose Motions

  • Vomiting

  • Stomach aches and cramps

  • Fever

  • Nausea

  • A headache

Dehydration may occur as a result of stomach flu. Since children are more susceptible to stomach flu than adults, it is imperative to watch out for signs of dehydration in them. If they start to have dry skin or dry mouth or feel lightheaded, contact your doctor immediately as these are severe symptoms of dehydration.


Rotavirus in infants can be prevented in infants with the help of a couple of vaccines. Talk to your medical practitioner about them. Although the sickness usually passes in about 10 days without any medication, it is essential that you drink lots of fluids and keep yourself adequately dehydrated to sail through the tide. Just water won’t do. You would need drinks that replace the lost salt and minerals. You could buy electrolyte solutions or oral rehydration solutions at your local drugstore. Over the counter medication may be tempting but in the case of gastroenteritis, time is the best medicine.

There are some preventive measures you could take against stomach flu. Not only do you need to practice basic hygiene at all times, but also wash your fruits and vegetables before eating them!

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