ZocdocAnswersHow is a stomach virus contracted?

Question

How is a stomach virus contracted?

How exactly does one contract a stomach virus? My girlfriend has been violently ill (vomiting, diarrhea, etc) for several days, but she and I have hardly had contact with anybody. Does that sound more like food poisoning, instead?

Answer

There are many causes of severe vomiting, including stomach viruses. Several of these require medical treatment. The physicians who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor or an emergency room doctor. Stomach viruses are a common cause of vomiting and diarrhea. They are usually contracted by being in contact with the infected fecal material of another person. Although this sounds gross, it is very common for this infected material to be present in the environment, such as door knobs and other public locations. Therefore knowing an infected person is not always required for getting ill! Food poisoning is another possibility. Food poisoning is more common in those who have eaten out, or eaten in a new place they are unfamiliar with, or eaten food that has been unrefrigerated for a long time. Food poisoning usually comes on more quickly than a viral infection and resolves more quickly but there can be overlap. As always, the diagnosis and the management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Especially if the vomiting is not ceasing, if she is unable to keep down liquids, or if she appears weak of feeble, she should be evaluated as soon as possible by an emergency room doctor or a primary care doctor.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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