The average person only knows a few medical conditions. A person who‘s coughing and sneezing has colds. A person who has a fever and coughing and sneezing has the flu. Then there are only two remedies. A person who has colds needs a lot of water and chicken soup. A person who has fever will have to do the same plus, lots of water and bed rest.
These assumptions and remedies have been around for centuries and have helped families get over such illnesses. Though these assumptions may have luckily sufficed for some families who self-medicate, we would like to take this topic a little further.
The symptoms of influenza and stomach flu are very similar making people think that they are experiencing one instead of the other. The best way to really know and treat whatever what you have is to see the doctor so he can inspect the symptoms himself and prescribe the proper medication. But, before you get to that point; God forbid, let us discuss the difference between the two.
Nature and Symptoms
The flu is a viral infection that mimics a cold that starts with the feeling of fatigue, fever and respiratory congestion. On the other hand, stomach flu is the irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines that may have been caused by bacteria, parasites in spoiled foods or unclean water. It could also be caused by a lactose intolerant condition that has a negative reaction to dairy products.
Symptoms of flu include fever, headache and muscle pains. Symptoms of stomach flu also include fever, headache and muscle pains plus, abdominal cramps, stomach pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
The flu, being a viral infection, will need an antiviral medication. Some antibiotics may be prescribed to protect the body from being invaded by bacteria during its very weak condition. People who have asthma and a heart condition have risks for complications and thus, antibiotics are prescribed. Kids below 2 years old and the elderly aged 65 years old and above are also susceptible to complications and will need a doctor’s advice for antibiotics.
The stomach flu, being mostly a bacterial infection, will be needing antibiotics for its treatment. A doctor will be best to prescribe the proper antibiotic to take because not all antibiotics are the same. Antibiotics differ is strength and focus.
The flu infection has two major life threatening complications. Asthmatics can have severe congestions that will make them unable to take in oxygen and literally drown in their own mucous. The elderly can catch pneumonia especially if the flu infection lasts for a long period of time leaving the elderly patient’s vital systems too weak to defend themselves.
The stomach flu has one major life threatening complication and that is dehydration. The signs of dehydration include sunken eyes, light-headedness, increased thirst, dry or sticky mucous in the mouth, lack of normal elasticity of the skin, decreased urine output and decreased tears.
Since both illnesses have life-threatening complications, no one should take these conditions lightly.
If you are pregnant, over 65 years old, under 2 years old, have asthma, have kidney disorders, diabetic, anemic or suffering from a heart condition, you should see a doctor at the first sign of flu to get the proper medication and hospitalization if needed.
As far as preventing dehydration is concerned, a sports coach once said that when you feel thirsty, then you are already in the first stage of dehydration. The people in the seminar were thinking that the sports coach was only saying that because he was promoting the sponsoring energy sports drink company. But, at least believe that statement when you have stomach flu. The mode should be preventive and the patient should never allow himself to feel thirsty.
Making proper self-medication should never be the final conclusion after reading this article. Any doctor will say that taking the wrong medication is worse than not taking any medication at all. There have been a lot of cases where people have ended up in a worse condition by self-medicating.
Both flu and stomach flu can pin you down to the bed and make you miss precious days from work and school. Both illnesses will leave you feeling awful, irritated and moody. Worst of all, both flu and stomach flu can lead to life-threatening complications.
Prevention is always better than finding a cure. To avoid stomach flu, pay attention on sanitary habits like washing your hands, preparing your food well and drinking clean water. To avoid flu, have a yearly flu vaccine.