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Stomach Flu Duration Information

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 4/6/2009

A common viral infection many people become a victim to is stomach flu. The symptoms of stomach flu can be extremely unpleasant. The stomach flu duration can last for only a short while to a few days. If the duration of stomach flu continues for a length of time, serious complications can occur.

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    Stomach Flu

    The stomach flu is caused by a viral infection. This common infection produces many painful gastrointestinal disruptions. During the stomach flu duration stomach pains, vomiting, abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea are experienced as a result of the infection.

    The flu is very contagious and often affects large groups of people like those of family, coworkers, and friends. The viral infection is spread though inhaling infected respiratory secretions. This can also happen by sharing drinks and food. A person can become infected with stomach flu by having the infection of their skin and rubbing their eyes or putting their hands in their nose or mouth.

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    Duration of Stomach Flu

    There are multiple different types of flu that have similar symptoms. Once a person is infected with a flu virus, it rapidly begins to multiply in the small intestine. Depending on how quickly it multiplies determines how quickly the symptoms become noticeable, normally for 1 to 10 days. The amount of time it takes after becoming infected and when the symptoms begin is called the stomach flu incubation period. In certain cases the incubation period is only a few hours.

    The stomach flu duration can be an uncomfortable experience. A wide variety of symptoms can occur including chills and watery eyes. The duration of stomach flu usually lasts anywhere from 1 to 10 days. Fevers and tiredness are common symptoms associated to flu.

    The symptoms of stomach flu begin very quickly and suddenly. The main symptoms of stomach flu are watery diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. During this time abdominal cramping and abdominal pain are often felt. These symptoms often lead to dehydration. Headaches and muscle aches can often occur.

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    Common Forms of Stomach Flu

    The most common form of stomach flu in infants and young children is the Rotavirus. The symptoms of the Rotavirus last for 3 to 9 days. The most common symptom of this infection is watery diarrhea. The diarrhea can be moderate to severe. Serious complications can occur if the symptoms are too severe. If too much of the body’s fluids are lost dehydration can be a result. This then increases the risk for death. Although this virus can affect any age it is most common in 3 to 5 year olds.

    About 50 percent of stomach flu cases are caused from contaminated food. These forms of stomach flu are called Noroviruses. The stomach flu duration is usually only 1 to 2 days. This form of the virus causes upset stomach and vomiting but normally is not serious.

    Although stomach flu often passes with no treatment needed, some cases of flu can become severe. If this occur it is very important to seek medical attention because severe dehydration can occur. Luckily, depending on the form of virus, most stomach flu passes on its own in 1 to 10 days.

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    References:

    “Stomach Flu Duration” By Arthur Schoenstadt, MD emedtv.com

    “How is flu spread?” webmd.com

    “Stomach Flu Symptoms” 2008 emedtv.com