A Sickness You Just Can't Stomach
So, what exactly is the difference between the stomach virus, or viral gastroenteritis, and food poisoning? Well, not much. The symptoms are all quite similar, and the viruses associated with the stomach virus are ones linked to food poisoning. While it is often referred to as “stomach flu,” viral gastroenteritis isn’t related to the flu at all. Gastroenteritis is often caused by rotavirus or norovirus. Unlike some other types of food poisoning, though, these viruses are transmissible from person to person, not just through contaminated foods. You may not have eaten any food that was contaminated, but if someone you know does and contracts the disease and you interact with them, odds are you’re going to come down with this bug too.
These viruses cause inflammation of the stomach and/or intestines, which can cause the symptoms normally associated with the stomach virus.
- Stomach and abdominal pain
- Headaches and body aches
The vomiting and diarrhea that the stomach virus causes can potentially cause you to get dehydrated, so it is best to be aware of the symptoms of that, as well.
Symptoms of Dehydration:
- Decreased urination
- Dry mouth and throat
- Dizziness when standing
Luckily, these viruses have a fast incubation period. It only takes 12-48 hours for a person that has been infected to start showing symptoms. The stomach virus usually lasts 1-3 days, but you remain contagious even a few days after recovering. If you’re sick it’s best to stay home from school or work to minimize the spread of the virus.
Go to the nearest HealthCARE Express if symptoms persist more than a few days if you are unable to hold liquids down and believe you may be dehydrated, if blood appears in your vomit or diarrhea, or if you have a fever above 100° F.