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Did You Know?: Influenza Versus the Stomach Flu

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Air date: September 28, 2008


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Wishard Health Services

Did you Know? is presented by Wishard Health Services, becoming Eskenazi Health in 2014.

It's true. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a completely different illness than stomach flu.

Influenza is caused by viruses that attack the nose, throat and lungs. Seasonal influenza begins in September and continues into January and beyond. Symptoms include high fever, headache, extreme tiredness, sore throat and muscle aches. Influenza is highly contagious, but getting a vaccination can lower the risk of being infected.

Stomach flu, on the other hand is caused by completely different viruses that attack the gastrointestinal tract. These viruses cause vomiting, diarrhea and stomach pain. In fact, this illness isn't really “flu” at all.

It’s properly called gastroenteritis, and the main danger is dehydration. There’s no vaccination for this stomach ailment. You just have to wait it out and drink plenty of liquids to stay hydrated.

It’s easy to confuse influenza and gastroenteritis because both can cause vomiting, diarrhea and fever. But they’re not the same.

And now you know.