SSM Health: The difference between “stomach flu” and the actual flu

MADISON, Wis. — Health experts in Wisconsin are expecting a very active flu season, and with many illnesses on the rise, SSM Health Pediatrician Dan Beardmore is breaking down differences between things like the “stomach flu’, and the actual flu.

“A lot of our stomach bugs are short lived,” says Beardmore. “People will use terms like the 24 hour flu, or the 48 hour flu. Then there’s the actual influenza virus, and that’s going to cause your multiple day fever, body aches, cold symptoms, plus stomach bug symptoms. Of course the actual influenza virus is going to make people a lot sicker, and we have a way to prevent it. A lot of these other viral things, RSV’s and colds, we don’t have a way to prevent.

In addition to getting the available vaccines for the flu, Dr. Beardmore recommends parents to encourage their kids to mask up indoors, and to keep their distance when possible, but adds that washing hands regularly with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds is the best way to avoid spreading germs this holiday season.

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