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Health Education Blog

What’s the Difference Between Seasonal Flu and Stomach Flu?

Posted by Staff on December 17, 2018

woman in bed with the flu Think back to the last time you were sick. All you probably wanted to do was put on your pjs, crawl into bed, sleep or binge watch Netflix. Whether you caught whatever is going around during flu season, you ate something that your body didn’t like, or you just aren’t taking the best care of yourself, it’s inevitable that you’ll get sick every now and then. Since you can’t pause life, you need to do everything you can to get better as quickly as possible – which means you need to know what type of flu you have so you can treat it correctly.

Many people use the term “flu” interchangeably when talking about the seasonal flu or the stomach flu. People often get the two of them confused, but they are actually completely different and unrelated illnesses. The seasonal flu is caused by the influenza virus and mostly affects the upper respiratory system, while the stomach flu can be caused by a number of viruses that affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Learn the common symptoms related to each type of flu in the excerpt below.

Posted by: verywellhealth.com

Seasonal vs. Stomach Flu

Influenza (The Flu)

When your doctor talks about the flu, he is referring to influenza, or the seasonal flu. This virus circulates and makes people sick during flu season each year. It can be a very serious illness. When combined with pneumonia, it is one of the top 10 causes of death in the United States. The most common symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Congestion
  • Body aches and pains
  • Fever
  • Exhaustion or fatigue

Influenza comes on suddenly and will make you feel terrible. It is very difficult to continue on with your life when you have the flu. The symptoms may last anywhere from 2 to 10 days. Although most healthy people recover from the flu without any serious problems, some people may develop complications or secondary infections.

Gastroenteritis (Stomach Flu)

The "stomach flu" is a completely different virus from the seasonal flu. It is most often caused by norovirus, rotavirus or a food-borne bacteria and is characterized by:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain and cramping
  • Occasionally fever

Gastroenteritis, although it is miserable, is typically not as serious as influenza. You may need to seek medical attention if you are dehydrated. Vomiting usually lasts no longer than 24 hours. Diarrhea may continue for several days after that. 

[Continue to full article]

In most cases, your body will be able to fight the flu and you’ll be better within a few days. But, if you notice that you’re not getting better and you’re feeling worse, you should contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible.

Prevention is key, but there are things you can do to speed up your recovery. Your best defense against the flu is to visit the Medical Specialty Center at Orchard Hospital - Your Everyday Health Care Clinic - to get your flu shot. The more steps that you take to avoid getting the flu, the better.

Our mission at Orchard Hospital is to provide our community with superior healthcare. We strive to ensure that your experience at Orchard Hospital is as pleasant and comfortable as possible. Our priority is to provide you with the care you need when you need it, with skill, compassion, and respect.

Topics: Flu

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