Stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, is a contagious viral infection that causes unpleasant symptoms. Stomach flu affects the stomach and the intestines and is different from the regular flu (influenza). It’s not a serious condition for healthy adults, however, young children and elderly people can suffer serious complications caused by stomach flu.1
You can prevent contracting the stomach flu virus through frequent handwashing and by avoiding contaminated food and water.
What Causes Stomach Flu?
Stomach flu causes are due to contracting a virus that causes gastroenteritis symptoms. There are several viruses that can cause stomach flu, including rotavirus and norovirus. Most people contract these viruses from eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.2
You can also contract stomach flu by sharing utensils or other personal items with someone who is infected. Poor hygiene, in general, is a common way to spread stomach flu. For example, if someone working in a kitchen doesn’t wash their hands frequently enough, then prepares your food, you can contract it through cross-contamination.2,3
Stomach Flu Symptoms
Stomach flu symptoms can come on suddenly, sometimes within only one day of contracting the virus. Stomach flu symptoms usually last one day although in some cases may last up to 10 days.4 Common stomach flu symptoms include:
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