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Stomach Flu

Samuel Cho, MD -  - Gastroenterologist

Samuel Cho, MD

Gastroenterologist located in Flushing, NY

The stomach flu, or viral gastroenteritis, is common as nearly everybody gets it from time to time. If you’re healthy, you’ll likely recover on your own with proper self care, but for people with weak immune systems, the stomach flu can turn serious. At his practice in Flushing, Queens, board-certified gastroenterologist Samuel Cho, MD, and his team help ease symptoms associated with the stomach flu to prevent complications. Call the New York City office to schedule an appointment or book one online today.

Stomach Flu Q & A

What is the stomach flu?

Viral gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, isn’t actually the flu, but it is an inflammation of your intestinal lining caused by a virus. It’s the second most common illness in the United States, and norovirus or rotavirus are common causes.

What are the symptoms of the stomach flu?

Symptoms associated with the stomach flu include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Low-grade fever

Stomach flu symptoms are different from symptoms of the real flu, which affects your respiratory system (throat, nose, and lungs). If you have the stomach flu, symptoms may appear within one to three days of exposure and might last 1-10 days. 

Dehydration is a complication of the stomach flu and is more common in the elderly, babies, young children, and people with weak immune systems. Symptoms of dehydration include dark-colored urine, fatigue, dizziness, and extreme thirst.

How does the stomach flu spread?

The stomach flu spreads through contaminated water or food and being in close proximity to an infected person. You might contract viral gastroenteritis by touching the same surface, such as a door knob, as a person with the virus.

What is the treatment for the stomach flu?

There’s no treatment for viral gastroenteritis, and antibiotics aren’t effective against it, but Dr. Cho helps ease symptoms associated with your illness. Examples of things you can do at home include:

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink lots of fluids
  • Avoid foods that make you nauseous

Drink clear soda, broth, non-caffeinated sports drinks, or suck on ice chips. When you’re ready to begin eating solid foods, try bland foods – such as bananas, rice, toast, or crackers. Steer clear of alcohol, caffeine, smoking, dairy foods, and spicy or fatty foods until you feel better.

How can I prevent the stomach flu?

You can’t always avoid the stomach flu, but taking precautions helps lower you and your child’s risk of contracting it. Examples include:     

  • Frequent hand washing
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Get your child vaccinated against rotavirus
  • Avoid sharing personal items, such as drinking glasses and utensils
  • Avoid close contact with people who are infected with the stomach flu
  • Disinfect hard surfaces

If you or your child develop dehydration associated with the stomach flu or need symptom relief, call Samuel Cho, MD, PC, for an evaluation, or schedule an appointment online today.

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