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What is it? 

Gastroenteritis/stomach bug is caused by a virus. There are many different viruses that can cause the stomach flu, including rotavirus and norovirus. It is easily spread by sharing utensils, drinks, toothbrushes, etc. with an infected person, touching contaminated surfaces or through eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Symptoms typically last up to 72 hours from their onset.


  • Nausea
  • Crampy abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches


  • Rest
  • Hydrate with water and oral rehydration (Gatorade, Pedialyte, Powerade)
  • Take over-the-counter Tylenol as needed for fever, chills and body aches
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages

Dehydration is the real concern with persistent vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration occurs when fluid loss exceeds fluid intake.

  • Dietary Guidelines:
    1. Only ice chips or sips of water until vomiting stops. Try taking small sips every 15-30 min.
    2. Clear liquid diet for 12-48 hours. Clear liquids include:
      Water, clear broth, flat soda, weak tea, apple juice, kool aid, jello, Gatorade, Pedialyte, Powerade and popsicles
    3. As your symptoms subside, the following may be added slowly:
      B – bananas, plain bread and plain crackers
      R – plain rice and rice cereal
      A – applesauce and peeled apples
      T – tea and toast (without butter, jam is OK)
    4. When your symptoms have resolved for 24 hours on the BRAT diet, lean meats, fruits and vegetables should be tried gradually.  At this point, dairy products may be added one at a time in limited amounts. Fried, spicy or fatty foods and alcohol should not be added until symptoms have completely resolved.


  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water
  • Clean shared surfaces with bleach wipes
  • Limit social contact while symptomatic

When to Seek Medical Care:

If you experience blood in your stool or urine, persistent vomiting for more than 24 hours or diarrhea lasting longer than 72 hours. Severe abdominal pain, persistent fever, dehydration symptoms including decreased urine output, dry mouth, rapid pulse, dark/concentrated urine or dizziness/lightheadedness upon standing also require medical attention.