Viral gastroenteritis (stomach flu)

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Viral gastroenteritis, often called "stomach flu," is an infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Learn the symptoms and treatment of viral gastroenteritis.

Key points

  • Viral gastroenteritis is an infection of the stomach and intestines, caused by a virus.
  • The main symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea and vomiting can cause a loss of fluids, also called dehydration.
  • If dehydration is severe, patients may have to be given fluid intravenously (IV) at the hospital.
  • Viral gastroenteritis can spread by sharing food, water and utensils. Frequent hand washing can help prevent the spread of infection to others.
  • Viral gastroenteritis is usually not a serious illness. However, people who have weak immune systems are at risk for more serious infection.
Last updated: August 27th 2023