A stomach virus is also referred to as viral "gastroenteritis" and is denoted by an inflammation of the intestines and stomach lining that causes food to travel quicker than usual through the body. The norovirus, rotavirus and the adenovirus are just a few of the common viruses that can cause gastroenteritis. Each one of these viruses can be spread through direct contact with the bodily fluids of another person, and are most commonly transmitted via the hands. The symptoms of a stomach virus only last for a short while, approximately one to three days.
Fever and Chills
According to MedicineNet.com a stomach virus is often accompanied by chills and a low-grade fever. A fever presents itself when the body's temperature rises one degree above the normal; which is 37 degrees Celsius (F). A fever is the body's way of fighting infection. A fever aids the immune system in combating viral infections, while chills help to cool the body back down.
Nausea and Vomiting
The development of nausea and vomiting can be a telltale sign that the body is fighting a stomach virus. The University of New Hampshire Health Services explains that a patient with a stomach virus should not eat or drink until these symptoms have subsided; clear liquids should be reintroduced within two hours following their absence. Nausea and vomiting that has not diminished within the first 24 hours of the stomach virus' onset should be treated by a doctor.
Stomach Cramps and Diarrhea
According to the MayoClinic diarrhoea is one of the main symptoms associated with a stomach virus. In most cases the diarrhoea is accompanied by stomach cramps that can range in intensity between mild and severe. The diarrhoea symptoms often last longer than stomach virus itself; in some cases remaining watery for up to two weeks after the stomach virus ends. Diarrhoea symptoms that linger longer than two weeks are cause for concern and need to be addressed by a physician.
Fatigue and Muscle Aches
The combination of fever, chills, nausea, stomach cramps and diarrhoea can take a large toll on the body. In fact, for some stomach virus sufferers the illness can be completely overwhelming; resulting in muscle aches and fatigue. For some, the fatigue that is associated with a stomach virus may seem to stick around longer than expected and abc News Health reveals that there may be a good reason as to why. Researchers have found a link between stomach viruses and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); a condition that can be quite debilitating. Unfortunately, there is no cure for CFS only medications to treat the symptoms.
Dehydration occurs when the body lacks sufficient amounts of water and electrolytes, and serious health risks can develop if these items are not replenished. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC) reports that the excessive vomiting and diarrhoea that is associated with a stomach virus can lead to dehydration. Therefore, it is imperative to seek medical attention if dry mouth, extreme thirst, dizziness, or a decrease in urine or tears develops. Any of these symptoms can be indicative of dehydration.