You’ve probably heard the term “stomach flu” many times from other people. You’ve most likely even complained about it yourself when talking about the feeling of sickness with several horrible symptoms, including nausea and vomiting. But to call it the stomach flu is a misnomer, as it’s not really the “flu”! According to the Mayo Clinic, while it is called the stomach flu, gastroenteritis isn’t the same as an influenza, which only affects your respiratory system; rather, gastroenteritis attacks your intestines. That should explain a lot, especially when you start feeling strange for no good reason.
Symptoms tend to show up a day or two after being exposed to the virus, either from person to person or through food contamination. Symptoms are usually mild and should only really last a day or two, although there are also cases of it lasting as long as 10 days.
Here are five stomach flu symptoms to be aware of:
1. Nausea and/or vomiting
One of the major indicators and symptoms of gastroenteritis is nausea, vomiting, or both. In a more serious situation – which you definitely consult a physician about – the symptoms can include vomit or a stool that has blood in it as well as a long-duration vomiting for more than 48 hours.
Typically, the loose stool is mild to moderate, with about two to four loose stools a day. It is watery but usually non-bloody; bloody means that there is a different and more severe infection on your hands. Along with the diarrhea, many people tend to complain of painful bloating, which is probably because of the virus in that vicinity.
With gastroenteritis, symptoms can include a low grade fever of about 99 degrees. More serious symptoms include a fever of 101 degrees or higher, in which case, you need to see a doctor.
4. Abdominal cramps
This symptom goes hand in hand with diarrhea and much like painful bloating, abdominal cramps tend to be just as bad sometimes.
The best way to find out if you are sick (or just about to be sick) is to focus on your noggin. Usually when you begin to have a headache, it’s a sign of bigger – and often, worse – things to come.
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