Intestinal flu: symptoms and treatment in adults

Even 20-30 years ago, intestinal flu was not isolated as a separate disease at all. It was a simple intestinal infection, one of many. However, in the 70s of the twentieth century, rotavirus, the causative agent of intestinal influenza, was discovered, after which the disease got its name.

What is it? Intestinal influenza is a simplified name for gastroenteritis or rotavirus infection, the causative agent of which is rotavirus. Its reproduction leads to inflammation of the digestive tract. In this article, we’ll talk about when the diagnosis of intestinal flu is diagnosed, the symptoms and treatment of this unpleasant disease, as well as how the disease is dangerous for adults and children.

Why do children get sick more often than adults?

The fact that intestinal flu in children is much more common than in adults is due to the peculiarity of the child’s body, which consists in the low level of acidity of the gastric juice. The body of adults is to some extent protected from rotaviruses due to higher acidity, as well as a sufficient amount of production of IgA immunoglobulin.

  • A certain role is played by the habit of children to take in their mouths toys and other objects.

Antivirals are powerless against rotavirus. Intestinal flu in children can be very dangerous. The occurrence of diarrhea and frequent vomiting should be a reason for immediate treatment to the pediatrician. An important point in protecting babies from infection is prevention.

How can you get infected?

Why does intestinal flu arise and what is it? The causative agent of the disease is rotavirus. The causative agent was first detected in 1973 in a small intestinal biopsy in children with gastroenteritis. The main source of infection is a sick person or a virus carrier. Microbes, entering the human body, multiply in the cells of the mucous membrane of the digestive tract and are released into the environment along with feces. Virus isolation occurs immediately after infection.

The main route of infection is by eating food that is infected with a virus, is not well processed in cooking, and when basic rules of personal hygiene are ignored. This is also a "dirty hands disease", like most intestinal diseases. A good environment for the development of rotavirus infection is water, dairy products.

Most often, children with intestinal flu from six months to 3 years. Older children do not get sick often, they form a relatively stable immunity.

Symptoms of intestinal flu

In the case of intestinal flu in adults, the symptoms can be divided into two groups. The first group includes those signs that are typical for the common cold or flu. The second group contains symptoms associated with disorders of the stomach and intestines.

The main signs of intestinal flu in adults are:

  • nausea, vomiting without blood and mucus;
  • weakness, body aches, muscle soreness;
  • cough (usually dry);
  • nasal congestion and runny nose;
  • redness, tickling, and sore throat;
  • low-grade or high fever;
  • conjunctivitis;
  • gastrointestinal disorders, abdominal cramps, flatulence, with frequent light
  • foaming stool with an unpleasant odor;
  • with severe disease, signs of dehydration are noticeable.

The incubation period for intestinal flu ranges from several hours to five days. It is during this time that the infection that has entered the body reaches the gastrointestinal tract and begins to actively proliferate there. How quickly an infection takes hold of an organism depends on the amount of the causative virus in it. The severity of gastroenteritis also depends on this factor. The hardest to endure the disease are children and the elderly.

The duration of the disease in adults is on average a week, but full recovery occurs only 5-7 days after the acute stage of the disease. However, a person may still be a carrier of the disease, so it is worth adhering to strict personal hygiene rules, especially in public places.


Sometimes with intestinal flu, due to a large loss of fluid, the body can dehydrate, which requires special attention and careful selection of drugs. About dehydration may indicate sunken eyes, dizziness, thirst, stickiness in the mouth, dry skin.

Dehydration of the body can be reduced by offering the patient a warm drink and some dietary food containing bananas, rice, apple juice, crackers. This is an anti-inflammatory diet.

How to treat intestinal flu?

Antibiotics are not used due to inefficiency. In the case of intestinal flu, treatment is aimed at eliminating the symptoms and has specific objectives:

  • dehydration;
  • raising the immune forces of the body;
  • restoration of water and electrolyte balance;
  • normalization of bowel function;
  • replenishing the lack of enzymes.

To achieve the objectives used the following groups of drugs:

  • enterosorbents;
  • astringent preparations of plant origin;
  • enzyme drugs;
  • drugs that normalize the microflora (pro-, pre-and eubiotics);
  • antipyretic;
  • vitamin complexes.

Treatment regimen

Specific treatment of intestinal flu in adults does not yet exist. Home therapy is aimed at reducing intoxication, normalization of water-salt metabolism, which is disturbed by diarrhea and vomiting. That is, treatment is mainly symptomatic, aimed at reducing the negative effects of the virus on the body.

General principles for the treatment of rotavirus infection:

  1. First of all, rehydration therapy is necessary, for which 1 bag of Regidron is dissolved in a liter of boiled water and drunk during the day every half hour. Adults, regardless of the severity of the condition after vomiting or stool, drink 200 ml. solution, because fluid loss must be replenished in the first 6 hours. Children with frequent vomiting and diarrhea are hospitalized.
  2. Appointment of sorbents (Activated carbon, Enterosgel, Smekta) and drugs that relieve swelling and improve the intestinal microflora.
  3. You should also take drugs with digestive enzymes - Creon, Pancreatin, Mezim Forte.
  4. Compliance with the diet. In case of intestinal flu, a gentle diet is recommended, excluding fried, fatty, dairy products, carbonated drinks and juices. It is advisable to use porridge cooked in water, vegetable soups, dried fruit compotes, jelly.
  5. With severe vomiting, it is possible to use antiemetic drugs.
  6. With severe diarrhea with fever, doctors usually prescribe Furazolidone or Enterofuril.
  7. Shows the semi-bed mode and isolation of the patient from healthy people.
  8. After the acute phase of the flu, it is necessary to restore the intestinal microflora. For this, probiotics are used - Linex, Bifiform, Hilak Forte, etc.
  9. If the symptoms are pronounced, hospitalization is indicated.

Since there is no etiotropic treatment of this disease, the prevention of intestinal flu is of great importance. Preventive measures include the whole complex used for intestinal infections: regular hand washing, cleaning of rooms with disinfectant and antiseptic solutions, processing of dishes and products, the maximum possible isolation of patients from healthy ones. If you follow these rules, the spread of the disease can be stopped.


Diet for intestinal flu is mandatory: the patient during the entire course of treatment should not eat spicy and fried foods, should eat more vegetable soups, drink jelly and fruit juice.

With diarrhea and vomiting, the body is dehydrated, so you need to drink more fluids. In order for the intestines not to collect gases, you need to eat dairy products, croutons and crackers.

Watch the video: Mayo Clinic Minute: What is 'stomach flu?' (December 2019).


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