Get ready parents! Stomach flu season is here — and it isn’t going to be fun. Unlike the common cold, the stomach flu (or gastroenteritis) manifests itself in some pretty ugly ways. Anyone who has had it, or has seen a child go through it, knows it’s just not pleasant, and there isn’t much to do about it, but wait for it to pass.
But what is the “stomach flu,” and is it really the “flu?” The answer, according to health experts atWebMD.com is, “Despite the name, stomach flu has nothing to do with the ‘true’ flu, influenza. Influenza causes body ache and fever. It almost never causes diarrhea or vomiting in adults.”
“The most awful symptoms — diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps — are actually your body’s defense mechanisms. Your body is trying to drive the virus out.”
Though the stomach flu can hit you at any time of the year, it is most common in the fall and winter, according to WebMD.com.
“Symptoms usually last for 1 to 3 days and sometimes longer. The greatest risks — especially in babies and older people — come from dehydration. Untreated, dehydration can be dangerous.”
According to WebMD.com, there is no cure for the stomach flu, but there are things you can do to make it more bearable and help prevent any complications.
• Drink more frequently.
• Drink smart. Stay away from sugary, caffeinated or carbonated liquids. Ask your doctor about giving your child Pedialyte to replenish minerals and electrolytes.
• Return to your normal diet as soon as you can. Bland foods are really only good for the first day.
• Rest. Your body needs time to recover.
You can help prevent the stomach flu, according to WebMD.com, by washing hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, and wiping down surfaces.