What you must know about stomach flu in winter amid pandemic


COVID-19 presents itself with varied signs like fever, dry cough, and headache. But these signs are additionally widespread in individuals who have stomach flu, or any gastrointestinal points (GI) like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. So, how does one decide the distinction? Indianexpress.com reached out to medical specialists to grasp extra about stomach flu, which is also referred to as gastroenteritis and the precautions and therapy for a similar.

What is gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis might be termed as an intestinal an infection accompanied by watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea, fever, and vomiting. “This infection can be a matter of concern during winters. You will also be shocked to know that it can be life-threatening for infants, older adults, and people with a compromised immune system. Hence, it is essential to keep stomach flu at bay by adhering to vital tips like hand washing and avoiding cross-contamination of food,” stated Dr Suresh Birajdar, guide paediatrician and neonatologist, Motherhood Hospital, Kharghar, Mumbai.

What are the causes?

Stomach flu is attributable to norovirus, which is also referred to as the winter vomiting bug. “It can be caused due to coming in contact with an infected person or by eating contaminated food and water. One may experience chills, fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, aches, and even pains,” he stated.

“It may spread to people in confined spaces; which means that transmission from one-person-to-other is also possible. Another cause can be rotavirus. Adults who are infected with rotavirus will not showcase symptoms but still may pass it on to others,” added Dr Birajdar.

How is stomach flu totally different from COVID-19?

Here’s what to know about stomach flu. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Almost 20 per cent of COVID-infected sufferers are reporting GI signs like diarrhoea with no obvious lung points, stated Dr Monika Jain, chief of gastroenterology and hepatology, Sri Balaji Action Medical Institute. Agreed Dr Sukrit Singh Sethi, guide, gastroenterology and hepatology, Narayana Hospital Gurugram, who shared {that a} latest research printed in the American Journal of Gastroenterology famous how diarrhoea generally happens in folks with COVID-19, with 19.four per cent of the themes experiencing diarrhoea as their first symptom. Additionally, researchers at Stanford University discovered that as much as 30 per cent of sufferers with delicate COVID-19 had signs affecting the digestive system.

“If the patient comes with COVID symptoms in the form of cough, sore throat etc., followed by GI symptoms, then COVID is likely to be present and it is easy to detect. But the challenge lies in detecting COVID in cases where GI symptoms are apparent but respiratory symptoms are lacking,” stated Dr Jain, including that signs like nausea, vomiting, ache stomach, lack of urge for food are additionally generally reported in COVID sufferers. It is, due to this fact, crucial to be examined and handled for a similar.

Following are the situations when a affected person needs to be admitted to the hospital at once:

*Persistent extreme diarrhoea
*Abdominal ache
*Decreased urine output or altered sensorium


Many Indian households depend on house treatments, which can be detrimental, stated Dr Sethi. Although stomach flu is curable if handled early, in some instances repeated episodes of vomiting prohibit consuming and likewise taking oral medicines. “If diarrhea stays for an extended time and the affected person is unable to take sufficient fluid, then this situation can have an effect on the kidney as effectively. The therapy may additionally contain medicines and therapies, talked about Dr Birajdar.


*Amid pandemic and COVID associated restrictions, following required precautions, and sustaining hygiene is the important thing.
*Keep washing your fingers; don’t contact edibles with unwashed fingers.
*Ensure hydration. Drink sufficient filtered or RO water
*If repeated consumption of medicines doesn’t treatment the signs, then one ought to search knowledgeable assist.
*Avoid consuming out, or unhygienic and unhealthy meals.
*Do not share any private objects with others. You must use separate towels, napkins, plates, utensils, and bedding.
*Make certain you clear and disinfect door, knobs, and different surfaces on a weekly foundation.
*Opt for ginger or peppermint tea that may assist you cope with signs of nausea and vomiting. Eating bananas and even rice could be a good choice. Give up on spicy, oily, and dairy merchandise.
*Motivate youngsters to remain hydrated by ingesting a variety of water, and relaxation as a lot as they’ll. Likewise, older folks might have excessive probabilities of dehydration so deal with it by fueling the physique with water.

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