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Even though it is most commonly referred to as the stomach flu, viral gastroenteritis is not caused by the flu virus. The flu and cold often share a few similar symptoms with other ailments such as food poisoning or stomach virus, complicating the diagnosis. However, the differences between the two are more than enough to properly identify which one you have.

If you are experiencing stomach pains, call (817) 799-7273 to schedule a same-day appointment at Urgentology Care in Arlington today. We also accept walk-in patients!

What is Viral Gastroenteritis?

Viral gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the intestines and stomach caused by a viral infection. The most common way to develop viral gastroenteritis, or the stomach flu, is by coming into contact with an infected person or by consuming contaminated food or water.


Gastroenteritis affects your intestines, causing you to experience these symptoms:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea, vomiting, or both
  • Muscle aches and headaches
  • Low fever
  • Dehydration

Symptoms will vary depending on the individual and the way it was contracted. Symptoms can show in the first day or three days after you become infected, ranging from mild to severe. However, symptoms typically do not last longer than a day or two.

You should go see a doctor if you:

  • Have not kept liquids down for 24 hours
  • Vomit for more than two days
  • Vomit blood
  • You are dehydrated
  • Have a fever over 104 F (40 C)


Unfortunately, there is no specific treatment for viral gastroenteritis. Antibiotics do not work against viruses and can lead to the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria if they are overused. Drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest at home until the virus leaves your system is the best course of action for treating this condition. In the case of severe dehydration, an IV will need to be administered to provide you with fluids. Here are some at home care tips:

  • Drink plenty of clear fluids
  • Do not consume drinks that contain milk, caffeine, or alcohol
  • When appetite is regained, start with easily digestible foods

Viral gastroenteritis is a very uncomfortable and exhausting condition. While there are no specific treatments available, home care is the best course of action. However, if symptoms do persist or worsen, it is imperative to seek medical help. If you wish to learn more about viral gastroenteritis, contact the healthcare professionals at Urgentology Care.

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