Viral gastroenteritis is an intestinal infection that is commonly known as stomach flu. Symptoms of stomach flu include watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.

Many different viruses can cause stomach flu. Stomach flu often develops after contact with an infected person or consuming contaminated food or water.

Though stomach flu can be unpleasant, most people recover within a few days without any further complications.

There is no specific treatment for stomach flu, and the infection can usually be left to run its course. Home treatments can improve symptoms, however, and are recommended for anyone who thinks they are ill.

Stomach virus symptoms

A woman is lying in bed holding her stomach.
Symptoms of stomach flu can include stomach cramps and pain.

Although viral gastroenteritis is referred to as a flu, it is not the same as influenza. Influenza only affects the respiratory system, which includes the nose, throat, and lungs. Stomach flu attacks the stomach and intestines.

Symptoms of stomach flu can include:

  • Watery non-bloody diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or both
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
  • Low-grade fever

In most cases, symptoms appear within 1-3 days of infection and can range from mild to severe. People often begin to experience symptoms 12-48 hours after being exposed to the virus. Symptoms often last for 1-2 days. In severe cases, they can last for as many as 10 days.


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