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Difference between Flu and Stomach Flu

Difference between Flu and Stomach Flu

Although they share some common symptoms, the flu and stomach flu are two different illnesses. The flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus, while the stomach flu is a viral infection of the gut. Symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, cough, body aches, and headache, while symptoms of the stomach flu include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The flu is usually not as severe as the stomach flu and can be treated with rest and over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. The stomach flu can be treated with fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration.

What is Flu?

Flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. Flu viruses usually cause mild to severe illness and sometimes can lead to death. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, and coughing. Flu can cause pneumonia (a serious lung infection) and other complications.

  • Some people are at higher risk for Flu including pregnant women, young children, people with weak immune systems (such as cancer patients), and the elderly. Flu vaccinations are the best way to prevent the Flu. There are two types of Flu vaccines: trivalent and quadrivalent.
  • Trivalent vaccines protect against three strains of Flu virus: two Influenza A viruses and one Influenza B virus. Quadrivalent vaccines protect against four strains of Flu virus: two Influenza A viruses and two Influenza B viruses. Flu vaccines are available as a shot or a nasal spray (FluMist).
  • The best time to get vaccinated is in October or November before the Flu season begins; however, it is still beneficial to get vaccinated in December or later because the Flu season can last through May.

The bottom line is that anyone 6 months of age or older should get a Flu vaccine every year. Talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccine is right for you!

What is Stomach Flu?

Stomach flu is a term used to describe a variety of gastrointestinal disorders. The most common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. While stomach flu can be caused by a number of different viruses, the most common culprit is the norovirus.

This virus is highly contagious and can spread easily from person to person. Stomach flu typically lasts for a few days, although some people may experience symptoms for up to a week. Treatment primarily focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing dehydration.

In most cases, stomach flu resolves on its own without any complications. However, young children and older adults are at risk for developing more serious problems such as dehydration. As such, it is important to seek medical care if you or your child develop severe symptoms.

Difference between Flu and Stomach Flu

Flu season is upon us, and with it comes the age-old question: what’s the difference between the Flu and the Stomach Flu? Both are highly contagious and can cause severe illness, but there are some key distinctions.

  • The Flu, or Influenza, is a respiratory virus that primarily affects the nose, throat, and lungs. Symptoms include fever, chills, coughing, and sore throat.
  • The Stomach Flu, on the other hand, is a gastrointestinal virus that affects the stomach and intestines. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
  • While both types of flu can be very unpleasant, the Stomach Flu is usually less severe and lasts for a shorter period of time than the Flu.

So if you’re feeling under the weather this season, pay attention to your symptoms to see if you have the Flu or the Stomach Flu. And whatever you do, don’t forget to wash your hands!


The next time you’re feeling under the weather, it’s important to know whether you have the flu or stomach flu. Although both viruses can make you feel pretty lousy, they require different treatments. Hopefully, this article has cleared up any confusion and armed you with the information you need to get on the road to recovery. Have you ever had either of these illnesses? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below.

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