Although a mildly upset stomach is fairly common, there are few things more unpleasant than a “stomach bug,” particularly when accompanied by diarrhea. The stomach bug, also known as stomach flu or gastroenteritis, is usually a virus-driven illness that can last as long as 10 days.

How Common are Stomach Bugs?

Despite the terms “stomach flu” and “stomach bug,” viral gastroenteritis is actually an infection of the intestines rather than the stomach, and it’s not related to the flu virus. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stomach bugs are usually caused by a norovirus. There are between 19 and 21 million cases of stomach bug every year. Anyone can come down with a stomach bug, although infants, young children, the elderly, and those with a weakened immune system are more likely to contract one.

Symptoms of the Stomach Bug

A stomach bug can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or, in rare cases, parasites. The incubation period for most stomach bugs is 24-48 hours after exposure to the virus. The most common symptoms of a stomach bug include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Fever
  • Intestinal cramps
  • Weight loss

Less common symptoms of an upset stomach include joint stiffness, abdominal pain, chills, dehydration, lethargy, headaches, increased heart rate, and general weakness. Symptoms of a stomach bug may require diagnosis and treatment from a doctor. While a healthy adult may have relatively mild symptoms, children, the elderly, and those who are immune compromised can get very sick from a “simple” case of the stomach flu.

When to Seek Treatment for a Stomach Bug or an Upset Stomach

When an infant, child, or person with a compromised immune system shows symptoms of a stomach bug, it’s best to err on the side of caution and seek medical attention. The stomach bug can lead to vomiting or diarrhea, causing the body to lose fluids and electrolytes and putting very young people, or adults with weakened immune systems, at risk of dehydration. When dehydration is not treated promptly, more serious health issues like organ damage and shock can occur.

Common Treatments for a Stomach Bug

Drinking fluids is crucial when you have a stomach bug, since you may lose vital bodily fluids from diarrhea or vomiting. Clear liquids such as water and broth, over-the-counter preparations like Pedialyte, and sports drinks that contain electrolytes can help prevent dehydration. Ginger and peppermint teas can help calm your stomach and minimize nausea.

Doctors often recommend the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) for relief from an upset stomach. Bananas are easy to digest and can replace the potassium you lose from diarrhea and vomiting. White rice is easily processed by the body, providing energy from carbs. Applesauce contains pectin, which can minimize diarrhea, providing an energy boost in the form of carbs and sugar. Finally, white bread toast is easy for the stomach to digest.

Avoid any food that is spicy, greasy, or full of fiber. Some people find dairy products difficult to digest, so they should steer clear of those as well. Your doctor may also recommend plenty of rest, ibuprofen for aches or fever, a prescription drug to stop nausea and vomiting, or an over-the-counter treatment for diarrhea, such as Pepto-Bismol (check with your doctor before giving Pepto-Bismol to children).

Get the Help You Need from Remedy

As you might imagine, a waiting room full of people is the very last place you want to be when you are suffering from a stomach bug. Experiencing diarrhea and vomiting makes many people hesitant to seek medical attention simply because they don’t want to sit in public waiting on a doctor for an extended period of time. Thankfully, there is a better and faster alternative: You can receive treatment for your stomach bug at home with help from Remedy.

Remedy makes it easy to receive high-quality urgent care on your own schedule without needing to leave your house. You can schedule either an on-demand video appointment or a same-day home visit from one of Remedy’s highly qualified physicians. We’re available for video consultations 24/7 and home visits from 8 AM to 8 PM, and we can send prescriptions directly to your preferred pharmacy electronically for pickup.

If you have insurance, our visits are eligible for coverage. If you don’t, you can still schedule a visit at an affordable, below-market price. We guarantee your money back if you aren’t satisfied with our services. Contact Remedy today!

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