Treat the stomach flu right away to have you feeling better in no time
Nearly everyone will experience a bout of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that seems to come from nowhere – commonly known as the stomach flu. While the stomach flu isn’t really the flu at all, and has no association with the influenza virus that causes seasonal flu, it can leave you feeling just as bad and worn out.
Stomach flu is the common term most often used to describe gastroenteritis, which means irritated and inflamed stomach and intestines, and may be caused by any number of things including bacteria or viruses. By following a few simple steps and some precautions, you can help to ease the severity of the stomach flu, and have you out of the bathroom sooner.
- replace fluids
- monitor for dehydration
- coat your stomach
- treat the vomiting
- eat lightly
- drink fruit juices or soda
- eat rich or heavy foods
- immediately take antibiotics
- drink unfiltered water
- underestimate the severity
Do replace fluids
Replenished fluids will help to improve your energy and keep you hydrated. Start with sips five minutes apart, and gradually increase until you are drinking large amounts. Sport drinks, water, broth, and popsicles are good for both children and adults.
Do monitor for dehydration
Stomach flu can result in severe dehydration, which can include listlessness, dizziness, sunken eyes, dry mouth and decreased urination. If dehydration persists even with increased fluid consumption contact your doctor immediately – IV hydration may be necessary.
Do coat your stomach
Over-the-counter medications such as Imodium or Pepto Bismol can help to coat your irritated stomach and slow diarrhea.
Do treat the vomiting
If you cannot hold down fluids and are starting to feel dehydrated, some over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medication can help you to restore the fluid balance so that you can start to eat some solid foods.
Do eat lightly
Once stomach flu symptoms start to lessen, especially vomiting, try to eat some simple foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast to replenish lost nutrients and help build up your strength.
Do not drink fruit juices or soda
Avoid carbonated or caffeinated beverages. These can contribute to dehydration and exacerbate diarrhea. Fruit juices should be diluted with one part juice to one part water.
Do not eat rich or heavy foods
Try to avoid salty and spicy foods, and foods heavy in cream or grains as these tend to aggravate the stomach and can be harder to digest. It’s important to give your stomach a rest after the rollercoaster it has been on.
Do not immediately take antibiotics
Gastroenteritis can be caused by many different things, including communicable viruses, making antibiotics unnecessary. Be sure to see a physician to determine which prescription medications are best for you.
Do not drink unfiltered water
Water-borne parasites are common in certain parts of the world, which can lead to bouts of the stomach flu. Be sure to drink bottled water to avoid the potential for parasites.
Do not underestimate the severity
Individuals that experience serious symptoms or have suppressed immune systems should be seen by a physician in order to determine the specific cause of the illness, and the proper treatment. Hospitalization might be needed to replace lost fluids.
Gastroenteritis or the stomach flu, is caused by a number of issues, and is often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. For most individuals, rest and fluids will help these tummy troubles go away on its own. The GI tract is usually able to care for itself and works to return your system to its normal state.
If you are not able to drink fluids, and keep vomiting or having diarrhea, or develop complications, be sure to seek medical attention.