How to treat intestinal flu in adults and children

Intestinal flu is an infectious disease.

Intestinal flu is an infectious disease.

Intestinal influenza( med. "Viral gastroenteritis") is an infectious disease manifested by watery diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting, and sometimes fever. The most common way to get infected with viral gastroenteritis is through contact with an infected person, as well as eating contaminated food or water. As a rule, people with good immunity recover quickly. But intestinal flu in children, the elderly and people with a weakened immune system can give serious complications and be deadly.100% effective remedies for the treatment of viral gastroenteritis do not exist, so prevention is a key factor in preventing the disease. In addition to proper monitoring of food and water consumed, which can be contaminated, thorough and frequent hand washing using soap should be necessary.

Table of contents:

  1. Intestinal flu symptoms
  2. Causes of intestinal flu
  3. Complications of intestinal flu
  4. Diagnosis of intestinal flu
  5. Treatment of intestinal flu
  6. Home care and diet
  7. Prevention

Symptoms of intestinal flu

Influenza viruses.

Influenza viruses.

Quite often, intestinal flu is called an ordinary stomach disorder, but this disease is not as simple as the flu. The present influenza only affects the respiratory system - the nose, throat and lungs. Gastroenteritis, in turn, attacks the intestines, causing the following symptoms:

  • Spasms and abdominal pain;
  • Nausea and / or vomiting;
  • Dehydration;
  • Subfebrile temperature.
  • Sometimes, muscle pain or headache;
  • Watery diarrhea, sometimes with an admixture of blood, which can mean joining a heavier infection;

Depending on the cause, the symptoms of viral gastroenteritis may appear within 1-3 days after infection and range from mild to severe severity. Symptoms usually last only 1 or 2 days, but sometimes they can persist for up to 10 days. Symptoms of intestinal flu are similar to other diseases, for example, bacterial diarrhea( caused by salmonella, E. coli or parasites - lamblia), so to determine the intestinal flu in children and adults, sometimes, is problematic. As for infants, it is possible to detect symptoms and intestinal flu itself in this case by the following signs:

  1. Vomiting lasts longer than several hours;
  2. Bloody stools or severe diarrhea;The sunken fontanel is a soft place on the top of the child's skull;
  3. Dry mouth or crying without tears;
  4. Unusual drowsiness.

Causes of Intestinal Influenza

Use only pure water.

Use only clear water.

The most common infection with viral gastroenteritis occurs when eating contaminated food or water. Also, "catch" intestinal flu can be when non-compliance with basic rules of hygiene, namely the use of the same items of use with an infected person( using a dish, a towel, etc.).Bacteria. Bacterial causes of viral gastroenteritis are the most common. Among the most "active pests" of this group are:

  • Intestinal bacillus;
  • Salmonella;
  • Campylobacter;
  • Shigella.

Viruses. Viral outbreaks( 30-40% of cases of intestinal flu in children) can quickly spread with close contact between children in kindergarten and school. Common viral causes include the following:

  1. Adenovirus;
  2. Rotavirus;
  3. Calicivirus;
  4. Astroviruses;
  5. Noroviruses.

Parasites and Protozoa. These tiny microorganisms are the least likely to cause intestinal flu, but they can not be excluded altogether. Infection can occur with the use of polluted water, visiting public places( for example, a swimming pool where contact with the contaminated environment is maximum).Parasitic causes include the following:

  • Lamblias;
  • Cryptosporidium.

Other common causes. Chemical toxins and heavy metals are most commonly found in seafood, and cause food allergy. In addition, taking antibiotics and other medications can also be associated with bouts of gastroenteritis:

  1. Aspirin;
  2. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs;
  3. Antibiotics;
  4. Caffeine;
  5. Steroids( excessive use or sudden change in frequency or dosage);
  6. Laxatives.

Complications of intestinal flu

Bacteria of intestinal flu under a microscope.

Bacteria of intestinal flu under a microscope.

The main complication that intestinal flu can provoke is dehydration - a serious loss of water and essential salts and minerals. With sufficient fluid intake, dehydration caused by prolonged vomiting and diarrhea should not be a problem. Infants, elderly people and people with a depressed immune system may face severe dehydration when the lost fluid can not be replenished. When signs of dehydration appear, urgent hospitalization is needed, where the loss of fluid can be replenished intravenously. Dehydration in rare cases can lead to death.

Diagnosis of intestinal flu

The device for diagnosis of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

The device for diagnosis of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

As a rule, the doctor bases on the available symptoms and the results of a physical examination in order to make an accurate diagnosis. An emergency( Cito) stool analysis can detect rotavirus or norovirus, but there are no rapid tests for other viruses that cause gastroenteritis. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe a stool test to rule out a possible bacterial or parasitic infection.

Treatment of intestinal flu

To date, the treatment of viral gastroenteritis does not provide for any specific scheme: antibiotics are not effective against viruses, moreover, treatment with them in this case can promote the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. How to treat intestinal flu in this case? Treatment of adult patients begins with the appointment of medications to stop vomiting( antiemetics), such as Promethazine, Prochlorperazine or Ondansetron. But children younger than 2 years of treatment of gastroenteritis with antiemetic agents are contraindicated. To stop diarrhea, patients older than 3 years of age may be prescribed antidiarrheal drugs, such as Diphenoxylate or Loperamide.

Home care and diet

Drink more liquid - this will prevent dehydration.

Drink more fluids - this will prevent dehydration.

Home treatment and rehabilitation consist of sufficient fluid intake, which will help alleviate the symptoms of the disease and avoid dehydration. The consumption of liquid helps to normalize the electrolyte imbalance, which can stop vomiting. Young children with frequent vomiting and diarrhea caused by intestinal flu need oral( through the mouth) rehydration, for example, the drug "Pedialite".After each liquid stool, children under 2 years of age are advised to take 1-3 sips of solution. Older children should drink 3-8 sips of solution. Adults should drink as much as possible. The solution can be prepared by yourself: mix 2 tablespoons of sugar( or honey) with ¼ teaspoon of table salt and ¼ teaspoon baking soda( baking soda can be replaced with ¼ teaspoon of table salt).Pour mixture 1 liter of boiled water before. Although adults and adolescents have a greater supply of electrolyte than children, electrolyte imbalance and dehydration can still be observed due to vomiting and diarrhea. Severe symptoms and dehydration usually develop as complications when using drugs or for chronic diseases such as diabetes mellitus or kidney failure. At the same time, symptoms of intestinal flu can occur in healthy people. In addition, the treatment of viral gastroenteritis will not be effective without following a strict diet. To stop diarrhea, it is necessary to include solid food in the diet. After 24 hours, recommended the use of soft foods - bananas, rice, apple puree without sugar, pasta or potatoes.


The best way to prevent the spread of intestinal infections is to follow the following precautions:

  • Timely vaccination. A vaccine against gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus infection is available in many countries.
  • Thorough washing of hands. This applies not only to adults, but also to children( especially after visiting the toilet).It is best to use warm water and soap, rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds, remembering to wash the area around the cuticles, under the fingernails and in the folds of your fingers. If water and soap are not available, hygienic napkins or a hand sanitizer can be used in such cases.
  • Use of individual household items in the house. You should avoid using the same dishes, glasses and plates, as well as bath towels.
  • Observing the distance. If possible, avoid close contact with people who are carriers of the virus.
  • Disinfection of hard surfaces in the house. If someone in the family circle suffers from a viral gastroenteritis, it is necessary to disinfect hard surfaces every day - tables, chairs, floors, etc.(using a solution: 150 ml of whiteness per 1 liter of water).
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