Duration of gastrointestinal flu


The gastrointestinal flu, contrary to its name, has little to do with the typical flu viruses. A variety of causes can cause inflammation of the digestive tract, which is colloquially subsumed under the gastrointestinal flu. The triggers range from bacterial and viral pathogens to parasites in the intestine, poisons and pollutants. The inflammation must therefore be differentiated according to its cause, severity and therapy method, which is why the healing, prognosis and duration of the disease can vary.

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How long does gastrointestinal flu last?

An exact number of days for healing cannot be given, but an approximate range of recovery can be defined. Conventional gastrointestinal flu, which are caused seasonally by bacteria or viruses, subside on average within a week. The duration of the illness mostly relates to the patient's subjective impression. Once the symptoms have completely subsided and the patient feels healthy, the flu can be said to have ended. The medical duration of the illness differs, however, since an infection with the spread of the pathogen in the body takes place even before the symptoms begin and even after the symptoms there can often be an excretion of infectious pathogens. Each pathogen has a different incubation and healing time. In the case of food poisoning, a cure can often be expected within less than two days. Of the Norovirus typically persists for about 3 days.

However, gastrointestinal flu can also have more rare causes that require more lengthy therapy. If the symptoms persist after about a week, a doctor should be seen to determine the exact cause and treat symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. The therapy and healing of parasitic or other persistent pathogens can sometimes take several weeks. It is important to note, however, that even if the disease lasts only for a short time, certain pathogens can infect others for weeks.

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Duration of the incubation period

The incubation period begins with the first infection with the pathogen and describes the time in which the pathogen multiplies and colonizes the body. The incubation period ends with the first appearance of symptoms. Each gastrointestinal pathogen has different incubation times. This depends on the nature, the multiplication rate and the aggressiveness of the pathogen. Seasonal gastrointestinal flu are known to break out very quickly and be particularly aggressive. Symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea are often rapid and severe. The incubation period often allows conclusions to be drawn about a potential infection. Apart from the pathogen, the exact time also depends on the immune system, the patient's state of health and the body temperature. It can be like that Norovirus break out within half a day or only after 2-3 days.

Duration of all symptoms

With most gastrointestinal flu, the duration of the symptoms that the patient can feel is only between 2-6 days. Often the disease occurs suddenly with gushing vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. With an intact immune system in normally healthy people, the body can fight the infection within two days, so that the symptoms become weaker and are eliminated after a maximum of one week.

An imperceptible symptom can be the further elimination of the pathogen with the stool. Even if the stool has returned to its normal consistency, some infectious viruses or bacteria may be present in it. Depending on the original pathogen, individual pathogens can still be detected days to a few weeks later. The most common cause of gastrointestinal flu, the Norovirus, is excreted about 2-3 days later.

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Duration until I am no longer contagious

The patient cannot subjectively record the exact duration of infection. Seasonal outbreaks of gastrointestinal flu occur regularly at home or in public facilities such as hospitals and old people's homes, as the infection continues beyond the duration of the symptoms. In particular that Norovirus is excreted in the stool on average about 2 days after the symptoms have subsided and can lead to further infection via the air or through contact with the stool. In the hospital there is a suspicion of this Norovirus the obligation to isolate patients from other patients for days after recovery. The total duration of the illness of the average gastrointestinal infection up to the end of the infectiousness averages 7-10 days.

Length of sick leave

Gastrointestinal flu is one of the most common reasons for sick leave. The symptom constellation of sudden vomiting with diarrhea leads in most cases to a 3-4 day sick leave. At the end of this period, most people will feel healthy and recovered. If symptoms persist after this time, you will need to see your doctor again to extend your sick leave and do more tests to diagnose the more precise cause of the inflammation.

Duration of gastrointestinal flu in babies

Gastrointestinal flu is not uncommon in babies. Seasonal viral and bacterial infections also occur in them and can be deposited in the gastrointestinal tract. This is a particularly common pathogen in small children Rotavirus. Nowadays there is an early childhood vaccination, but it cannot 100% protect against infection. In many cases, toddlers and babies become infected with the Rotavirusbefore the recommended age for vaccination is reached. Sudden vomiting with diarrhea also occurs in babies. It is extremely important to give the child water and, if possible, solid food to prevent dehydration (Desiccosis) and to prevent undersupply of vital nutrients. In particular, the amount of water they drink must be carefully controlled in a toddler, as otherwise circulatory collapses can occur.

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Duration of gastrointestinal flu in the child

Big children can be treated for gastrointestinal flu in a similar way to adults. As a rule, these are mostly harmless viral pathogens that the body can fight itself within a few days. In the first hours of vomiting, little food should be taken in order to relieve the stomach as much as possible. Afterwards, with slight symptom relief, the children can eat, only dairy products should be avoided as far as possible. A doctor visit is only necessary if symptoms persist after 3-4 days. Only when diarrhea and vomiting have not occurred for more than a day can the child go back to daycare, kindergarten or school. Before that, infection is still possible, which can quickly lead to rapid spread in a public institution.

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