Most people at some point have had or will have what it commonly called the stomach flu, otherwise known as gastroenteritis. This means that the stomach and the intestines become irritated. Often this condition leaves the body by itself within a couple of days but it can stay for longer than that. The general symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting and a fever. The last two may or may not occur, depending on the cause and the person but diarrhea is almost always present.
The Stomach Flu in Children
In young children, this condition is mostly caused by viral infections. There are plenty of viruses going around that cause diarrhea that may or may not have vomiting. These include the retroviruses that go around a lot during the colder months and the enteroviruses that spread during the warmer months, as well as the adenoviruses that spread throughout the year.
Common Causes of Gastroenteritis
The Norwalk virus amongst other noroviruses has been recently identified as a cause of this condition because of various outbreaks that have occurred on cruise ships. The body normally becomes immune to a virus once it has it once but there are many viruses.
There are also certain types of bacteria that can cause this condition. In developed countries these bacterium are quite rare because of the sanitation and hygiene practices. This being said, in the countries that aren’t as developed and where sanitation is lacking, these strains of bacteria do exist even in the drinking water.
Foods can sometimes contain bacteria that cause gastroenteritis. Products such as eggs or potato salad can contain Salmonella which is dangerous.
The Use of Antibiotics
There are certain cases of this condition that require antibiotics such as Salmonella but drugs can also make the symptoms worse. It is best to see the doctor in such cases and avoid the antibiotics when possible.
Treatments Available for the Stomach Flu
Hydration: Keeping the fluids in the body is very important. Diarrhea dehydrates the body very quickly and to maintain better health, the body needs liquid. It also helps to flush out the virus or bacteria. Plain water should be avoided however and the water should have some form of sugar or minerals in it such as in Gatorade or other similar things.
Rice and Cooking Water: Giving the person rice with the cooking water is easy on the stomach and will help the person to get more vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates.
Pedialyte TM: This is a rehydration drink used for children when they have the stomach flu. This can be mixed with other ingredients to make a sort of cocktail.
Simple Diet: Keeping the diet simple will help the body to heal. It is advised to keep the first 24 hours to a clear liquid diet such as with broth, water, and juice. Any citrus, tomato or dairy products should be avoided. As well, the patient should not have coffee, alcohol, carbonated drinks, or anything greasy.