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Many people experience symptoms that seem to indicate the 24-Hr Flu. It is an unpleasant and all to common experience. What is the 24-Hr Flu? Is it really a flu, or is it another type of illness?
Symptoms of the 24-Hr Flu include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, chills, headache, and fatigue. You may experience all or just some of these symptoms. They generally begin with chills and a headache. Then you may experience fever and gastrointestinal symptoms. These symptoms can be caused by influenza, but gastrointestinal symptoms aren’t common symptoms of flu in adults. Influenza lasts for up to three weeks. While not everyone who catches influenza will experience symptoms for this length of time, it isn’t possible to have influenza and only experience symptoms for only 24 hours. If the 24-Hr Flu isn’t influenza, what is it?
There are two common viruses that can cause the 24-Hr Flu. These viruses cause inflammation of the stomach and intestines. They can be transmitted by contact with the infected person, touching objects they have touched, or using the same utensils. It can also be contracted by ingesting contaminated food or water. These viruses are most common in November through May. This is the same period that the flu virus is active, which may explain the name 24 Hr Flu.
The first is Norovirus. You will develop symptoms within 12 to 48 hours of contracting the virus. Norovirus causes the stomach, intestines, or both to become inflamed. This can lead to stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, headache, and body aches. You will typically recover from the Norovirus within one to three days.
Rotavirus begins with vomiting and fever, and then you will experience diarrhea. You may also experience abdominal pain. Diarrhea usually lasts for a few days after the vomiting has passed. Rotavirus is more severe in children, but most children are now vaccinated to prevent the virus or at least reduce the severity. It is spread in the same way as Norovirus.
The term 24-Hr Flu generally refers to a stomach virus. However, there is another culprit that can cause the symptoms that the 24-Hr Flu is known for. Most viruses last for at least 48 hours. However, the symptoms may start to abate after 24 hours or even sooner. While some cases of food poisoning last several days, it is common for symptoms to be completely gone after 24 hours, so it is likely that this is the culprit for some cases of 24-Hr flu symptoms.
Food poisoning occurs when you ingest contaminated food or beverages that are harboring bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Undercooking meat or cross contamination are common ways to get food poisoning. However, other foods can be the culprit as well, including:
- Raw eggs
- Unpastuerized dairy products
- Unwashed produce
- Raw fish
- Undercooked rice
- Contaminated water
Symptoms of food poisoning will appear within six hours of eating contaminated food. Others who ate the contaminated food will become sick at the same time. Bloody stools may be present if you have food poisoning as well. If you experience black stool, trouble breathing, a high fever, or severe dehydration, you should visit your doctor.
The 24-Hr flu may only last for 24 hours, but it will likely be the longest 24 hours you’ve ever experienced. Get plenty of rest and drink clear liquids. Introduce food back into your diet slowly, starting with bland foods.