How long does gastroenteritis last for?

The duration of gastroenteritis (stomach flu) can vary depending on the underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms. In most cases, the illness lasts for a few days to a week. The following is a general timeline for the duration of gastroenteritis:

  • The onset of symptoms typically occurs within one to three days after exposure to the virus, bacteria, or parasite that caused the infection.
  • The symptoms of gastroenteritis usually peak within the first two to three days and may include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, fever, and dehydration.
  • Most people with gastroenteritis begin to feel better within three to four days and make a full recovery within a week.

However, in some cases, gastroenteritis can last longer or be more severe. Infants, young children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems are more susceptible to complications, such as severe dehydration, that can extend the duration of illness.

Additionally, certain viral and bacterial strains can cause more severe symptoms and last longer than others. It is important to seek medical attention if symptoms are severe or if they persist for more than a few days.