Acute viral gastroenteritis, or more commonly known as stomach flu, is an infection in the digestive system caused by a cluster of viruses identified to be "rotaviruses." It is commonly the cause of severe diarrhea in children and may cause further complications. The virus is transmitted in a fecal-oral manner, which can occur when humans ingest contaminated water or food or come into contact with any contaminated surface. While not deadly, it can still cause complications in children, disabled and the elderly who have low immune system and who are unable to fully care for themselves. To check if you have stomach flu so that you'd be able to quickly find treatment, here are the symptoms of the infection:
- Incubation period. The incubation period for the rotavirus usually occurs only after two days, which means that you won't experience any symptoms the moment you come in contact with the virus. This piece of information-although seemingly irrelevant to you once you start experiencing the symptoms-is helpful in determining where you got the virus in the first place.
- Vomiting. Once contaminated food or water is ingested, the digestive system recognizes the virus and may induce vomiting several times. This could go on for 3-8 days, or until the virus has been completely removed out of your system.
- Abdominal pain. The digestive system may react negatively with the virus, causing some contractions and movement along the abdominal track. This would lead to gradual to severe abdominal pain which could occur often during the time of infection.
- Watery diarrhea. The body will try as much as it could to flush the harmful viruses out of its system, so it will resort to any measure to get it done. Several times you may experience watery fecal discharge in a day. It will be watery because your digestive system is practically rendered incapable of performing normal functions, which includes absorbing water intake. Thus, it tends to flush it out, along with other bodily wastes.
- Nausea. Getting all that water out of your body may cause dehydration, which could later on induce nausea. Be sure not to move around very much to keep this in check.
- Muscle aches. Even if you're not doing strenuous activities, your muscles in different parts of the body may begin to ache.
- No fever or a low-grade fever. You may experience getting a fever a few times during infection, but stomach flu normally doesn't escalate to a high fever, unless complications have started to develop.
It should be noted, however, that you may not experience all these symptoms at once-some may manifest early on in the infection while some may not manifest at all. Still, it is better to be armed with this information in order to detect the infection early on, which could prove vital in treating and diagnosing the disease. Try and keep a handy list of all these symptoms which can easily happen whenever you or your child experience something out of the ordinary.