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Q: What is stomach flu, and how should I treat it?

Posted February 11, 2015 in Advice Column, Norwalk

A: Stomach flu is often confused with food poisoning because the symptoms are so similar.

Stomach flu is usually caused by a viral infection in the digestive system.  To prevent stomach flu, you must avoid contact with the virus.

Viral stomach flu will usually go away within 24-48 hours. For older children and adults once vomiting has stopped for an hour, drink 1 ounce of clear liquid every 20 minutes for an hour, avoid citrus juices. If vomiting lasts longer than 24 hours, sip a rehydration drink to restore lost fluids and nutrients.  When feeling better, begin eating clear soups, mild foods and liquids until all symptoms are gone for 12-48 hours.  Gelatin dessert, dry toast, crackers and cooked cereal are good choices.  Rest in bed until you are feeling better.

Infants and young children need special attention when they have diarrhea or are vomiting because they can quickly become dehydrated.  Careful observe children’s appearance and fluid intake.

Call your health care provider if you have any questions, especially if vomiting lasts longer than one day in adults, if severe diarrhea lasts longer than 2 days in an adult or if there are signs of dehydration.

Information adapted from “Healthwise Handbook.”

Information adapted from “Healthwise Handbook,” provided by Dr. Jason Brehmer, D.O., Family Medicine – Norwalk, 801 Colonial Circle, 515-285-3200.


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