The Flu Bug
© Bobbie Jean Peachey
What Is Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is an infection of the stomach and of the intestines and is caused by a virus. This most recent outbreak of stomach flu is very contagious.
What Are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of the stomach flue, or gastroenteritis probably will start out as intense muscle aches and/or chills and continues with nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting and/or diarrhea.
How Long Does the Stomach Flue Last?
The stomach flu can last from one day up to ten days.
What To Do If You Have Stomach Flu
Rest, Drink plenty of fluids such as water, electrolyte drinks such as quality sports drinks. After the diarrhea and vomiting quits, you can slowly start eating very soft foods. Start with saltine crackers would be my recommendation, gradually adding toast, the noodles an broth of chicken noodle soup, jelly, puddings, and finally pudding and rice. If any nausea, cramping, or diarrhea begins again when you add any of these foods, back off and stay with clear liquids and toast or crackers because your intestines are probably still inflamed and need more time to heal.
Know and watch for signs of dehydration which includes fatigue, a dry mouth, dizziness or lightheadedness when standing up, loose skin, and decreased urination. Increase fluids, more rest, and back to electrolyte drinks.
When To Get To The Hospital . . . Fast!
Dehydration is very dangerous and can cause death in both children and adults. The most common symptoms are dehydration are if you have both diarrhea and vomiting over a period of time, if you cannot keep anything down, are having headache, muscle cramps or tingling of limbs this probably means you are getting seriously dehydrated. Dial 911 and get help immediately.
The next step in severe dehydration is muscle spasm, racing pulse, shriveled skin, dim vision, confusion, chest and abdominal pain, seizures and unconsciousness. Your really do need to be in the hospital at this point or already have an IV started by the ambulance paramedics and be rushing to the hospital.
Severe dehydration is dangerous for a person of any age, but especially dangerous for children and the elderly. Don't take chances and if you are caring for someone with severe dehydration, don't hesitate to get help for them.
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