The stomach bug is a virus or bacteria that affect your stomach and the intestines causing inflammation and irritation in those areas (gastrointestinal tract).
The stomach bug symptoms can either start suddenly or they can develop over a period of time.
During the stomach flu infection, the person usually suffers from:
- stomach pain
These symptoms usually begin 12 to 72 hours after catching the bug, which may be a virus or bacteria. However, you may not have all the stomach bug symptoms above and only develop some of them.
If one of your symptoms is bloody stool, the cause is more likely to be bacteria. In this case, you should be very careful, as gastroenteritis caused by bacteria, if left untreated, can last for weeks and can be associated with severe abdominal pain.
The diarrhea can cause many times dehydration and weakness. You really need to know that dehydration is a life-threatening condition, especially in children, and it needs urgent medical attention!
Light-headedness, decreased tears or no tears at all, increased or extreme thirst, decreased urine output, sunken eyes, lack of regular elasticity of the skin and dry mouth are all symptoms of dehydration.
Even if you have diarrhea, you should continue to drink water and other fluids to avoid dehydration. You can also consume foods like applesauce, toast, bananas or rice as they help to retain water in your body.
Depending of the type of bug that causes it, other possible stomach flu symptoms include muscle pains, low grade fever (100 F – 37.7 C), chills, headaches, loss of appetite, swollen lymph glands, a feeling of being tired and/or dizzy.
The thing is that a person sometimes can have the virus or bacteria even if they currently have no symptoms whatsoever! And if you have contact with such an infected person, you can catch the bug as well.
When it’s time to call your doctor?
If you have some of the gastroenteritis symptoms below, you most likely need medical treatment:
- fever higher than 101 F – 38.3 C
- swollen abdomen
- bloody diarrhea or bloody vomiting
- you’ve been vomiting for more than 2 days
- pain in the right lower part of the abdomen
If you lose fluids through diarrhea, vomiting or fever and cannot drink anything, it’s time to call your doctor or have someone take you to a hospital! Same if you are sleepy or unaware!
Also, go to the doctor immediately if your child or infant has any of the symptoms below:
- is dehydrated (compare how much they drink and urinate with how much is normal for them)
- has a fever of 102 F (38.9 C) or higher
- has blood in his diarrhea
- is in a lot of pain or discomfort
- is very irritable or lethargic
As a general rule, be careful to monitor your stomach bug symptoms and be quick to seek medical attention if you’re starting to feel worse.