How is Stomach Flu Diagnosed?


Often, a stomach flu will run its course without making you visit a healthcare provider. However, if you become severely dehydrated, it may be necessary to seek medical attention.

A doctor will usually diagnose the stomach flu based on the symptoms you are experiencing but may choose to run one or more tests to confirm a diagnosis. These include taking a stool sample to look for a virus in the stool.

How is Stomach Flu Treated?


Unfortunately, there are no real stomach flu treatments. However, you can manage symptoms and avoid dehydration with measures like:

  • Staying hydrated by taking frequent, small sips of water or sucking on ice chips
  • Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Getting plenty of rest
  • Taking anti-diarrhea medication like bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol) or loperamide (Imodium A-D)



Stomach flu symptoms usually last a couple of days but may linger for up to two weeks.

Yes, stomach flu, or viral gastroenteritis, is contagious. People with the virus can be contagious from the moment they are infected until about three days after they recover. In some cases, people can remain contagious for up to two weeks.

Stomach flu is spread through close contact with other infected persons or through surfaces contaminated by an infected person. It is possible to become infected by airborne virus particles.

Eating plain and easily digestible foods is best when you have or are recovering from the stomach flu. These include broth, plain toast, rice, bananas, and crackers. Avoid spicy foods, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol.

While there is no treatment for the stomach flu, staying hydrated, getting enough rest, and using anti-diarrhea medications can help manage your symptoms.

Get Care

Trust NewYork-Presbyterian for Stomach Flu Treatment

If you are concerned you may have the stomach flu or are experiencing complications from the stomach flu, make an appointment with NewYork-Presbyterian’s gastrointestinal experts. Our team has years of experience identifying stomach flu symptoms and determining the best course of care for each patient.