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Can anyone tell me what I might have?

By December 5, 2009 - 4:37pm
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I think it is stomach flu but I'm not sure. Last night me and my boyfriend had Jack In The Box since he got home late. In the morning my stomach hurt and I had diarrhea about 4 or 5 times. It lasted from about 9 - 10 off and on. I haven't eaten since last night and its 3:38 and my stomach hasn't made a noise signaling hunger. My stomach still hurts a bit, Can anyone help me with this?

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HERWriter Guide

Hi Maddy -
An occasional stomach upset or indigestion is nothing to worry about. You may be wondering then how to distinguish between an upset stomach and the stomach flu.

The stomach flu is caused by noroviruses - a group of viruses that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. This is known as gastroenteritis or, more commonly, the “stomach flu”. In the US, noroviruses are the second leading cause of illness (the common cold is the first).

The highly contagious noroviruses are spread by fecal-oral contamination of water and food.

Infection can occur as a result of contaminated:

* Municipal water supplies, recreational lakes, swimming pools, wells, water stored on cruise ships, among other sources
* Raw (or improperly steamed) shellfish, especially clams and oysters
* Food and drinks (due to infected food handlers who either do not wash their hands or wash their hands improperly after using the bathroom)
* Surfaces (eg, touching a door knob and then placing hands in mouth)

If you experience any of these symptoms do not assume it is due to norovirus. These symptoms may also be caused by other, less serious health conditions.

* Nausea
* Vomiting
o An infected person may vomit often (sometimes violently and without warning) during one day.
* Diarrhea
* Abdominal pain
* Headache
* Low-grade fever
* Chills
* Muscle aches
* Tiredness
* Dehydration
o This may require medical attention, especially in children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. You can prevent dehydration by drinking a lot of fluids, including water and juice.

After exposure to the virus, symptoms typically appear within 24-48 hours, but you can begin feeling ill as early as 12 hours. Symptoms usually last 24-60 hours.

Currently, there are no treatments for gastroenteritis caused by noroviruses. Because gastroenteritis is caused by a virus, antibiotics cannot cure it, and there are no antiviral medications or vaccines. Typically, though, the illness is brief. The only complication would be dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea. In certain groups of people (eg, the young and the elderly), this may require hospitalization to replenish fluids.

Maddy, what you're going through will likely pass through in a short period of time. If you start developing some of the more serious symptoms listed above you will need to seek medical attention.

Stomach flu typically lasts 1-3 days. It can, however, take one to two weeks before your bowels return to normal. It will help to drink clear liquids such as weak tea, apple juice and soft drinks without caffeine (such as 7-UP) after letting them go flat. Avoid acidic liquids such as orange juice, caffeinated liquids such as coffee and liquids with a lot of carbonation such as soft drinks. Stay away from milk as long as you have diarrhea. Bland soft foods will be the easiest on your stomach. These would include toast, crackers, eggs, gelatin, eggs, applesauce and bananas. Avoid dairy products and foods that are acidic, spicy, fatty, or fibrous. When you no longer have any signs of illness you can start introducing these foods back into your diet.

Does this answer your question? I hope you feel better soon, and let us know how you're doing over the next few days.

Take good care,

December 5, 2009 - 5:27pm
(reply to Pat Elliott)

Thank you very much, this information has really calmed me down:) So this means it may not be serious? I keep getting chills over and over again, and nausea. The diarrhea appears to have stopped, but thank you I will have to just wait and see.

December 5, 2009 - 6:53pm
(reply to Maddy K)

Your chills and nausea could definitely be a "stomach flu"...do you have a fever?

You could also have food poisoning, and your body is ridding itself of the bad stuff through the diarrhea. I know it is very unpleasant, but having these symptoms for a few days is nothing to worry about. If they become more severe, or if you have a high fever, then you would want to call your doctor.

Be sure to drink a LOT of water, ginger ale or other clear liquid to keep you hydrated!

December 6, 2009 - 2:20pm

Also, I don't want to eat anything because I don't want to trigger it

December 5, 2009 - 4:38pm
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