With flu season underway and the weather only getting colder outside, many people are wondering about stomach flu symptoms.

After all, this is the height of flu season.

However, the condition typically ascribed to "stomach flu" is not caused by the influenza virus.

The condition known as stomach flu, gastroenteritis, is actually caused by a variety of viruses and results in vomiting or diarrhea.

Because of the vomiting and diarrhea, it is important to drink lots of fluids through the duration of the infection.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that families with infants and young children keep a supply of oral rehydration solution at home at all times and use the solution when diarrhea first occurs in the child.

According to the CDC, Many different viruses can cause gastroenteritis, including rotaviruses, noroviruses, adenoviruses (types 40 and 41), sapoviruses and astroviruses.

Here are the typical stomach flu symptoms:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Abdominal cramps
The CDC reports that the stomach flu symptoms begin appearing one to two days after being infected with the virus and can continue for up to 10 days afterward.

The illness is contagious but it is not serious in most cases. Most people will recover without any long-term effects.

But, the CDC advises that infants, young people and others who cannot care for themselves, such as the elderly, must take precautions not to become too dehydrated.

In the United States, most stomach flu outbreaks occur during the months of October through April.

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