Diarrhea Home > Infant Stomach Flu

Cases of infant stomach flu are caused by several different viruses, including rotavirus and norovirus. When the illness develops in an infant, stomach flu presents a special concern because the risk for dehydration is greater than it is for adults with stomach flu. In most cases, symptoms of stomach flu in infants usually improve after 1 to 10 days in babies with healthy immune systems.

Infant Stomach Flu: An Introduction

Stomach flu is an intestinal infection caused by several different viruses that can result in diarrhea and vomiting. Highly contagious, stomach flu is the second most common illness in the United States. It causes millions of cases of diarrhea each year.
 
But the so-called "stomach flu" is actually not stomach flu at all. Viruses that cause stomach flu affect the small intestine, not the stomach. Furthermore, stomach flu viruses are not flu viruses. The flu virus is the influenza virus, which affects the respiratory system. The influenza virus does not affect the intestines.
 
Regardless of the inaccuracies of the term "stomach flu," it is the most commonly used term to describe what healthcare providers call viral gastroenteritis.
 
Other names that people use to describe infant stomach flu include:
 

Types of Infant Stomach Flu

Many different viruses can cause infant stomach flu. The most common types include:
 
Each stomach flu virus has its own seasonal activity. For example, in the United States, rotavirus and astrovirus infections occur during the cooler months of the year (October to April), whereas adenovirus infections occur throughout the year.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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