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How to Get the Stomach Flu

Understanding how people get the stomach flu can help you avoid exposure. The stomach flu is actually a virus in the small intestine that causes diarrhea and vomiting in some individuals. The stomach flu's correct name is viral gastroenteritis, an inflammation of the intestines and stomach by any one of many different viral intruders. The stomach flu is extremely contagious, passing from person to person quite easily, especially in public places. The stomach flu is most active during the cold months of the year (October to April), although some varieties persist throughout the year.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Visit public areas such as daycare centers, grocery stores, schools, nursing homes or restaurants will inevitably expose you to the stomach flu.

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Expose yourself to situations where individuals with the stomach flu might handle your food. Viral flu is transmitted particularly by contact with body waste products and vomit of the affect individuals. If a food handler at a restaurant doesn't cleanse hands properly, the flu can be transmitted.

Place your hands on unclean surfaces or those touched by infected individuals. As with many ailments, a simple cough can spread this virus to many people through the air and by the affected individual contaminating common surfaces such as tables, chairs and grocery cart handles.

First Signs of a Stomach Virus

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Care for an individual who's infected with the stomach flu. If you're trying to avoid exposure, make sure to use extreme diligence washing the hands and avoiding prolonged exposure to the sick individual when he or she is showing symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever or headache.

Share food or utensils with contaminated persons. Just as with transmission during food preparation, this method of contracting the stomach flu involves passing the virus through direct contact with the virus by contact with an infected person.


Careful hand washing and moderating behavior to avoid areas of possible exposure can help prevent contraction of the stomach flu.

Individuals who contract viral gastroenteritis should make sure to replace fluids lost from loose stools or vomiting to avoid dehydration. Visit your doctor if you feel excessively weak, lethargic or cannot get your vomiting or diarrhea under control.