We’ve all heard of the stomach flu and merely hearing about it is enough to make anyone want to avoid it! While you may hope you never get the flu, knowing the facts about it is still essential. Let’s take a look at the symptoms, treatment, and prevention for the stomach flu.
The stomach flu affects your digestive system, as the name would suggest. Those suffer often report nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. These things are often paired with a fever, but not always. Muscle aches and a generalized headache are often the first symptoms reported. The stomach flu is typically spread from one person to another through direct contact, but it can also be spread through infected foods and drinks.
For most people suffering from the stomach flu, it is an unenjoyable but not life-threatening experience. Dehydration is the most common side effect of stomach flu that leads to hospitalization. Be sure to drink plenty of water, as well as electrolyte-filled sports drinks to replenish what’s lost from vomiting and diarrhea. If you have a fever or aches, you can take Tylenol to relieve them. Get plenty of rest and try to avoid contact with others while you’re sick. Infants, pregnant women, and the elderly can become much more seriously ill if they contract the stomach flu. In some cases, it even results in death.
The stomach flu has no natural cure, so prevention indeed is the best medicine! Thankfully, the flu vaccine is available to anyone who wants it. The flu vaccine is effective at reducing your chances of getting the flu by up to 80%. The vaccine is covered by most insurance companies, and it’s available at doctors’ offices, pharmacies, walk-in clinics, and urgent care centers. The flu vaccine is available to everyone over 6 months of age. Special forms of the vaccine must be given to pregnant women and those over the age of 65. If you’re nervous about getting a shot, don’t be! There is a nasal option of the vaccine available that’s completely painless and needless.
Practicing regular handwashing is the next best form of prevention against the flu. During flu season, you should take the time to wash your hands even more regularly than you do the rest of the year! If you know someone is sick, encourage them to stay home from work or school until their symptoms subside entirely.