Viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as stomach flu, is caused by several viruses, including norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus. Getting in contact with an infected person, consumption of contaminated food or water is often blamed for stomach flu.

Though the intestinal infection can affect people at any time of the year, it is most prevalent during fall and winter in the U.S. Despite the name, the infection actually has nothing to do with influenza. The stomach flu viruses attack the digestive tract leading to inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

The infection is not serious but is troublesome for the person affected by it. Symptoms often last for one to three days — in some cases even longer. Dehydration is the main risk factor involved in stomach flu, especially for babies and elderly people.


  • Pain in the abdomen, rectum, or stomach
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Green stool
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Flatulence
  • Stomach cramps
  • Dehydration
  • Chills
  • Excessive thirst/dry mouth
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness or sweating
  • Headache
  • Insufficient urine production
  • Weight loss


Stomach flu is often self-treatable. There is no particular medical treatment for the infection and antibiotics generally do not work against viruses. However, those down with stomach flu are advised to avoid dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and fatty or highly seasoned foods.