With the winter months and vacation season on the horizon, you’re possible doing the whole lot in your energy to remain wholesome. However typically getting sick is inevitable and understanding precisely what you’ve come down with turns into the precedence to get correct therapy and keep away from passing it alongside to others. The flu and COVID-19 are possible excessive in your radar, however you also needs to pay attention to 24-hour flu.

Imagine it or not, despite the fact that it is known as “the 24-hour flu,” it has nothing to do with the flu or flu virus in any respect (kinda just like the interval flu). The 24-hour flu is a misnomer as a result of influenza is an higher respiratory tract virus that doesn’t contain the gastrointestinal tract, explains Nicholaos Bellos, MD, an infectious illness knowledgeable and the nationwide medical director of prolonged care providers at Quest Diagnostics.

Individuals who have the 24-hour flu are literally experiencing a situation generally known as gastroenteritis, additionally sometimes called the abdomen flu, he says. Gastroenteritis is usually generally known as the 24-hour flu as a result of the signs it causes might solely final a day or two. That is not alway true, although, since GI points attributable to this situation can typically take as much as 14 days to go away, notes Dr. Bellos.

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On the subject of the 24-hour flu, you don’t need to fiddle. Right here’s the whole lot it is advisable find out about this abdomen bug, in keeping with docs.

Meet the specialists: Nicholaos Bellos, MD, is an infectious illness knowledgeable and the nationwide medical director of prolonged care providers at Quest Diagnostics.

Natasha Chhabra, MD, is a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey.

So, what causes the 24-hour flu?

“Grownup instances are often attributable to norovirus, also referred to as the winter vomiting bug, rotavirus, or meals poisoning,” says Dr. Bellos. The virus or contaminated meals causes your abdomen and intestines to turn out to be irritated and infected, resulting in gastroenteritis and the related signs, he explains.

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Each the norovirus and rotavirus are unfold by coming into contact with somebody who has the virus or their unwashed palms (particularly after going to the lavatory or altering a diaper) or touching contaminated surfaces. Meals poisoning, however, happens when somebody consumes contaminated meals or water, notes Dr. Bellos.

That stated, the 24-hour flu is usually not airborne (attributable to coughing, sneezing, or laughing), says Natasha Chhabra, MD, a gastroenterologist at Gastroenterology Associates of New Jersey. “Folks can get it by ingestion of contaminated meals, however often extra fast unfold is in crowded areas and extra by direct contact quite than respiratory.”

What are the signs of the 24-hour flu?

Signs often seem inside 4 to 48 hours after coming in touch with the virus or consuming contaminated meals. They will embrace stomach ache, diarrhea, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and typically fever, says Dr. Bellos. You might also have physique aches, lack of urge for food, or excessive fatigue, and dehydration is frequent for those who’re throwing up or going to the lavatory so much.

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The tough half is signs might be just like these of the flu or COVID-19. “COVID-19 may cause gastrointestinal signs, even when respiration issues are usually not current, so it’s vital to take a look at different extra extreme well being circumstances when experiencing signs,” says Dr. Bellos. However easy assessments can rule out COVID-19, the flu, or bacterial infections.

And whereas *anybody* can get the 24-hour flu, these with a weakened immune system are at a better danger, notes Dr. Chhabra. Younger kids, aged folks, and anybody who’s immunocompromised or taking drugs that suppress their immune system usually tend to develop extreme signs.

Does the 24-hour flu actually go away in a day?

Sadly, no. “For most individuals, the sickness goes away in just a few days, and you’ll be contagious from just a few days to 2 weeks or extra, relying on which virus prompted the gastroenteritis,” says Dr. Bellos. Nonetheless, within the case of the norovirus, you should still be contagious just a few days after you get well.

The norovirus can stay in your stool for as much as two weeks after restoration.

The 24-hour flu may be very contagious, so one of the simplest ways to keep away from getting others sick is to restrict contact, disinfect all surfaces (counters, door handles, taps, and so on.), and apply good hand washing (meaning rinsing with cleaning soap and water for not less than 20 seconds), says Dr. Bellos. The virus may stay in your stool for as much as two weeks after restoration, so hand washing after utilizing the lavatory is totally important, he provides.

How do you deal with the 24-hour flu?

Most instances go away by itself with relaxation and loads of fluids, however Dr. Chhabra recommends hydrating with electrolytes, similar to ingesting Vitamin Water, Gatorade, and even Pedialyte. If you happen to’re struggling to maintain something down, drink small quantities of water or electrolyte fluids (two to 4 ounces) each 30 to 60 minutes, provides Dr. Bellos. You also needs to stick to boring meals like bread, crackers, or rice, and keep away from something heavy or flavorful.

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“Generally antidiarrheals like Imodium can be utilized, however that must be mentioned along with your physician earlier than utilizing in case there’s an an infection that requires extra particular therapy like an antibiotic,” says Dr. Chhabra.

A probiotic complement can also be useful to revive the intestine flora, which might be thrown off if you’re coping with an an infection or virus. “There’s not one probiotic that’s thought-about a lot better than others, however a probiotic on the whole provides you with good micro organism and may also help mitigate signs,” provides Dr. Chhabra. You might not really feel the results of the probiotic immediately, however you’ll discover (and really feel!) a distinction over time.

When do you have to see a physician?

When you have diarrhea that lasts greater than a number of days or discover blood in your stool, then it is advisable search medical care, says Dr. Chhabra. Extended nausea that lasts multiple to 2 weeks can be an indication that it’s time to examine in along with your doc.

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Dehydration is one other main concern with the 24-hour flu, so for those who really feel lightheaded, dizzy, delirious, or have dry mouth, lips, or eyes, then it is advisable go to the emergency room or pressing care ASAP, says Dr. Chhabra.