Many people still confuse influenza (the “flu” making headlines) with stomach flu; some even throw Norovirus in, like it’s either “the flu” or “Norovirus”. Understanding the difference and which symptoms belong to which illness is important, especially in such a life threatening flu season.
Let’s get influenza out of the way. Vomiting and diarrhea can be occasional symptoms of influenza (especially if you’re choking on mucus or running a bowel cooking fever), but they aren’t the hallmark of the flu. Flu is a respiratory illness, which gets serious because it attacks the lungs. The lung inflammation and damage it causes can lead to secondary illness like pneumonia and other bacterial infections that cause hospitalizations and potentially death.
Stomach flu causes stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and other related symptoms, including, sometimes, fever. You might have a cold at the same time, but stomach flu is a virus that’s impacting your digestive system. (Food poisoning is usually bacterial, and more likely to happen during warm summer temperatures. During winter, stomach flus like Norovirus are other viruses that circulate and can even be airborne).
You’re contagious with stomach flu a few days before, and up to a few weeks after you have symptoms. Norovirus is a particularly virulent form of stomach flu; if someone vomits when they have Norovirus, the affected area (according to one study) is 20 feet beyond what you see and think of as contaminated. Rotavirus is another culprit, and is more likely to cause diarrhea.
The best prevention is thorough hand-washing, and cleaning with a stronger than normal bleach water solution. Treatment for vomiting and diarrhea is rest (at home) and lots of fluids, and seeking medical care for severe symptoms like dehydration.
You can give yourself extra support generally with immune supporting colloidal silver, and you can give your gut targeted defense with a little microbe boost from a good probiotic supplement like Flora MGR. Our good gut bacteria not only aide health and digestion, they help crowd out and fight off invading pathogens, preventing or just shortening illnesses.
Is stomach flu spreading as much as flu in your area? Let us know in the comments: