Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis occurs when viruses like norovirus or rotavirus infect the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine.
The infection leads to the inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract lining, causing diarrhea and possibly, fever and chills.
People can contract stomach flu through person-to-person contact. It can also be due to the consumption of contaminated food and water (food poisoning).
Other symptoms to watch out for include:
- Abdominal cramps
A healthy person typically does not need treatment for stomach flu other than rest and plenty of fluids.
Like viruses, bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli can also enter the body by consuming contaminated food. In fact, the most common cause of food poisoning is a bacterial infection.
Besides diarrhea with fever, infection by bacteria can also cause the following symptoms:
- Aching muscles
- Loss of appetite
Note that the treatment depends on the bacteria and the severity of the symptoms. Most cases resolve without treatment, but you might receive antibiotics and fluid replacement therapy through the vein (swero) if your symptoms are more serious.
Parasites like Entamoeba hystolytica can cause amebiasis and lead to mild symptoms like watery stool.