How Long Does Stomach Flu Last: Know the Truth

How long does stomach flu last
How long does stomach flu last

Stomach flu can become a problematic illness for many individuals especially if it is not treated with the right procedure. But do not worry, you can fight against this problem by following home remedies below. In this article, we will not only talk about remedies but also cover other crucial concepts such as how long does stomach flu last along with differences between food poison and seasonal flu. Through that, you will be able to deal with stomach flu easily without much hard work. So, what are you waiting for? Go now and read the article to get the insight of this illness.

How long does stomach flu last? 

The period of stomach flu can differ depending on factors like the specific virus involved, an individual’s immune system, and how well they handle signs.

On average, the signs of stomach flu standardly last for about 1 to 3 days. Howbeit, it’s not uncommon for some people to encounter signs for up to a week or more. Common symptoms of stomach flu incorporate nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes fever.

What is Stomach Flu?

Stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, is a viral infection that affects the digestive system. It is caused by various types of viruses, such as norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus. The virus infects the lining of the stomach and intestines, leading to inflammation and irritation.

What causes Stomach flu?

Stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, is primarily caused by viral infections, although it can also be caused by bacterial or parasitic infections. The most common viruses that cause stomach flu include norovirus, rotavirus, and adenovirus. These viruses are highly contagious and can spread easily through contaminated food or water, as well as close contact with an infected person.

Bacterial infections that can cause stomach flu include Escherichia coli (E. coli), Salmonella, and Campylobacter, while parasitic infections that can lead to gastroenteritis include Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Other factors that can contribute to the development of stomach flu include consuming contaminated food or water, poor hygiene practices, weakened immune system, and underlying medical conditions. In some cases, stomach flu can also be caused by certain medications or toxins.

What are the symptoms of stomach flu?

Stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, can cause a variety of symptoms that affect the digestive system. The severity and duration of the symptoms can vary depending on the type of virus, bacteria, or parasite that is causing the illness, as well as the individual’s overall health. Some common symptoms of stomach flu include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Dehydration

In some cases, stomach flu can also cause other symptoms such as loss of appetite, chills, and sweating. Symptoms typically appear within 12-48 hours of infection and can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks, depending on the severity of the infection and the individual’s overall health.

What’s the difference between stomach flu, food poisoning, and seasonal flu?

Stomach flu, food poisoning, and seasonal flu are three distinct problems, each produced by dissimilar pathogens and having different signs. Here’s a brief rundown of the distinctions between them:

  1. Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis): Stomach flu, also counted as viral gastroenteritis, is an infection of the stomach and intestines produced by various viruses, for instance norovirus and rotavirus. It is characterized by signs like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and sometimes fever. Stomach flu is extremely infectious and proliferates through polluted food, water, or direct contact with an infected person. It usually resolves on its own within a few days, and treatment mainly involves staying hydrated and managing signs.
  2. Food Poisoning: Food poisoning transpires when you devour polluted food or libations that contain detrimental bacteria, viruses, parasites, or toxins. The signs of food poisoning can differ widely relying on the particular adulterant, but they often incorporate nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and sometimes fever. Onset of signs can differ from a few hours to a few days after devouring the dirty food. Medicament explicitly involves staying hydrated, resting, and allowing the body to eliminate the harmful substances. In drastic states, medical attention may be necessary.
  3. Seasonal Flu (Influenza): Seasonal flu, or influenza, is a infectious respiratory problem generated by influenza viruses. It primarily affects the respiratory system and is characterized by signs for instance fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, fatigue, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea and vomiting. The flu is proliferated through respiratory droplets and can head towards more acute difficulties, explicitly in susceptible populations for instance young children, the elderly, and individuals with immunosuppressed. Vaccination is suggested to avert the flu, and antiviral medicaments may be prescribed to diminish the extremity and period of signs if caught early.

How long are you contagious?

The contagious period for stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, can vary relying on the particular virus creating the illness. The most ordinary viruses responsible for stomach flu are norovirus and rotavirus. Here’s a general guideline:

  1. Norovirus: Norovirus is highly infectious and can proliferate through contaminated food, water, surfaces, and close contact with an infected person. The contagious period usually commence before signs appear and can last for several days to even a few weeks after signs have resolved. Typically, a person with norovirus can be infectious from the moment they start feeling ill until a few days after their symptoms have completely gone away.
  2. Rotavirus: Rotavirus firstly troubles young children and is a common cause of severe diarrhea and vomiting. The contagious period usually starts a few days before symptoms develop and can last for about a week after symptoms begin.

Can stomach flu cause a fever?

Stomach flu or gastroenteritis can cause a fever. Fever is a common symptom of many types of infections, including viral infections like the ones that cause stomach flu. In some cases, the fever may be mild, while in others it can be high and accompanied by other symptoms such as chills, headache, and muscle aches.

The fever associated with stomach flu is typically low-grade, which means it is below 102°F (38.9°C). However, in some cases, the fever can be higher, especially in children. The duration of the fever can vary depending on the severity of the infection and the individual’s overall health. In most cases, the fever will subside within a few days to a week as the body fights off the infection.

It is important to monitor your fever and other symptoms closely and seek medical attention if you experience severe symptoms or if your fever persists for an extended period of time. Additionally, staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest can help your body recover from the illness more quickly.

Stomach flu what to eat

These foods can help soothe the digestive system and prevent further irritation or inflammation. Some recommended foods to eat when you have stomach flu include:

Clear liquids: 

Drink plenty of clear liquids, such as water, herbal tea, broth, and electrolyte drinks, to stay hydrated and replenish lost fluids.


Bananas are a good source of potassium, which can help regulate fluid balance in the body. They are also easy to digest and can help firm up loose stools.


Plain white rice is easy to digest and can help absorb excess fluids in the digestive tract. It can be eaten plain or mixed with a small amount of broth for flavour.


Plain, white toast can be a good source of carbohydrates and can help settle an upset stomach. Avoid high-fiber or whole-grain breads, as they can be harder to digest.


Applesauce is gentle on the stomach and can provide some energy and nutrients. Look for unsweetened varieties to avoid added sugars.


Plain, low-fat yogurt contains probiotics, which can help promote healthy gut bacteria and aid digestion. Avoid yogurts with added sugars or artificial sweeteners.

How is it treated?

Here are some common treatments for stomach flu:

Rest and hydration: Resting and staying hydrated is crucial for recovery from stomach flu. Drinking clear fluids, such as water, broth, and electrolyte drinks, can help replenish lost fluids and prevent dehydration.

Over-the-counter medications: Over-the-counter medications, such as anti-diarrheal drugs and pain relievers, can help alleviate symptoms of stomach flu, such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. However, it is important to check with a doctor or pharmacist before taking any medications, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or are taking other medications.

Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help restore balance in the gut and aid digestion. Consuming probiotic-rich foods, such as yogurt or kefir, or taking probiotic supplements can help alleviate symptoms of stomach flu and promote recovery.

Avoiding certain foods: As mentioned earlier, it is important to avoid certain foods, such as high-fat, spicy, or fibrous foods, as they can worsen symptoms of stomach flu. Instead, focus on consuming foods that are easy to digest and gentle on the stomach, such as those listed in the previous answer.

Home remedies

Here are the home remedies for stomach flu:

  1. BRAT Diet: Bland Foods for Recovery The BRAT diet, consisting of Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast, is a compulsory suggestion for soothing an upset stomach. These easily digestible foods supply the body with essential nutrients while minimizing irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Incorporating plain rice, ripe bananas, applesauce, and whole-grain toast can aid settle the stomach and provide much-needed energy during recovery.
  2. Harnessing the Power of Ginger Ginger is renowned for its anti-nausea properties and its tendency to alleviate stomach discomfort. Ginger tea or ginger-infused water can be particularly helpful in calming the stomach and reducing nausea. Its natural compounds, such as gingerol, aid digestion and may help reduce inflammation in the gut.
  3. Peppermint for Digestive Relief Peppermint has a soothing effect on the gastrointestinal tract, making it a valuable ally in managing stomach flu symptoms. Peppermint tea or diluted peppermint oil can ease nausea and alleviate bloating. However, individuals with acid reflux or certain gastrointestinal conditions should exercise caution with peppermint, as it can sometimes exacerbate symptoms.
  4. The Calming Comfort of Chamomile Chamomile tea is well-counted for its calming and anti-inflammatory properties. It can aid alleviate stomach cramps and ease tension in the digestive system. Enjoying a warm cup of chamomile tea can promote relaxation and aid in the healing process.
  5. Nurturing Gut Health with Probiotics Probiotics play a vital role in maintaining a healthy gut flora. Yogurt, kefir, and other probiotic-rich foods introduce beneficial bacteria to the digestive system, which can aid in recovery and restore balance. For those who prefer supplements, probiotic capsules can also be considered under medical guidance.
  6. Herbal Teas for Stomach Soothing Aside from peppermint and chamomile, other herbal teas like fennel, anise, and caraway can aid digestion and alleviate stomach discomfort. These teas have been traditionally used to mitigate bloating and promote overall digestive wellness.
  7. Balancing Acidity with Apple Cider Vinegar Diluted apple cider vinegar can help balance stomach acidity, promoting smoother digestion. Incorporating a small amount of apple cider vinegar in warm water may offer relief from discomfort.

When to see a doctor

While home remedies can be productive in handling light stomach flu symptoms, it’s mandatory to know when to go for medical checkup. If symptoms worsen or persevere, for instance severe dehydration, persistent vomiting, high fever, or the existence of bloody stools, it’s crucial to confer a healthcare expert.


Through the article, we learned how long does stomach flu last along with home remedies and differences between food poison, seasonal flu and stomach flu. Apart from that, we also covered the right time to go for medical treatment after realizing the state of illness. This is crucial to get treated well before it becomes serious. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q1: How long does it take to recover from stomach flu?

Ans: It takes one to one week to recover from stomach flu.

Q2: How do you get rid of the stomach flu fast?

Ans: By following or applying methods of home remedies in your daily life, you can get rid of the stomach flu fast.

Q3: What are the stages of the stomach flu?

Ans: There are five stages of the stomach flu:

  • Incubation Period
  • Onset of Symptoms
  • Acute Period
  • Subsiding Symptoms
  • Recovery

Q4: How do I know when stomach flu is over?

Ans: When you see this changes in your body:

  • Resolution of Symptoms
  • Hydration Improves
  • Return of Appetite
  • Increased Energy
  • Less Frequent Bowel Movements
  • Reduction of Intensity of Symptoms
  • No Fever


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