What Is The Stomach Flu, And Is It The Same As The Flu?

Question: What is the stomach flu, and is it the same as the flu?

Answer: That's something we say casually, it's not a medical term. And it usually involves kinds of infections and upsets of the tummy and frankly the colon. It's associated with diarrhea and stomach cramps. And so the stomach flu is a very imprecise term. Now, one little footnote. Real influenza -- that viral infection, that serious viral infection we can get in the winter -- in children, can cause some diarrhea. So sometimes Mom, even in the winter will say that their child has the stomach flu and it's caused by real influenza.

Next: Where Does The Flu Come From, And Why Are We Susceptible To Flu Every Year?

William Schaffner, M.D., Chair, Department of Preventative Medicine, Vanderbilt Medical School
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