Also known as stomach virus or gastroenteritis, stomach flu is an irritation of the stomach and the intestines. Usually, this flu tends to disappear on its own after a couple of days. Even though it’s known as stomach flu, it should be understood that it’s not caused by influenza but rather by viruses, bacteria and parasites such as cryptosporidium. These viruses, bacteria and parasites usually enter a person through the mouth. Being a highly contagious disease, it can easily attack adults and children as well. This article looks at ways to get rid of the stomach flu.
Stomach flu symptoms tend to manifest after ones contact with an infected person such as through shaking hands, drinking from a contaminated glass or even sharing food with an infected person. When contact with the flu virus is made, the virus travels to the stomach and the intestines where it causes inflammation which results in manifestation of symptoms such as vomiting.
Stomach flu is manifested through various symptoms such as diarrhea which is the most common, weakness, fever, dizziness, headache, nausea, muscle pains, weight loss, abdominal cramps, severe burning stomach pains, loss of appetite, vomiting etc. If the condition is left untreated, it can cause life threatening complications.
The question that lingers on most people’s minds is what to eat after stomach flu. This is because the flu makes the stomach very irritable meaning that as soon as you eat most of the food, it comes up almost immediately. However, some foods work better than others because it is easy for the stomach to digest them such as eggs, apple sauce, bananas, soda crackers and toast.
During this period, ensure you keep off from acidic, spicy or greasy foods as they can worsen your symptoms. In addition, avoid fibrous vegetables, coarse grains, dairy products and meats. Below are remedies for stomach flu:
1. Adequate Hydration
Dehydration is the most serious and life threatening complication of stomach flu. As such, since your body loses a lot of fluids through diarrhea and vomiting, it is important to consume a lot of fluids such as broth, water, ginger ale and mild juices in order to keep your fluid levels up.
2. Complete Bed Rest
Adequate bed rest is very important in order to allow your body to recuperate from the onslaught of the illness and heal itself.
3. Proper Nutrition
Oatmeal taken without milk or cream is ideal if there is no vomiting or nausea. Also rice bran, carrot soup, plain toast, ripe bananas and apple sauce can be taken to boost the body’s immune system to fight off the infection. However, certain foods that contain dairy products, alcohol and caffeine should be avoided during this time as they tend to worsen the symptoms of stomach flu.
4. Herbal Teas
Herbal teas such as Peppermint tea which is very soothing to the stomach work great. Ginger tea is also effective although caution should be taken to use just a little bit of it to avoid irritating the stomach. Caraway tea which is made by mixing one teaspoonful of caraway seeds into one cup of boiling water also helps to relieve nausea.
5. Over The Counter Medication
There is a wide variety of non-prescription anti-diarrhea medication that can treat stomach flu. This medication is available in the pharmacies. However, you should avoid ibuprofen and NSAIDS as they will upset your stomach more.
6. Salt And Sugar Mixture
Mix a teaspoonful of sugar and salt into a glass of water. Take small sips very slowly. This drink will help to settle your stomach while at the same time replenishing your electrolyte supply which has been lost through diarrhea and vomiting.
7. Carob Powder
Mix one tablespoon of carob powder into one cup of apple sauce or water and drink. Carob is very effective in stopping diarrhea.
8. Lemon Grass And Honey
Blanch lemon grass and add honey to make a drink that helps to fight off these symptoms of stomach flu.
9. Homeopathic Medicine
Homeopathic medicine such as arsenicum album and bryonia work to treat stomach flu symptoms and pull you out of the flu completely.
It is helpful with this condition; however, if you have high blood pressure or if you are diabetic, use DGL tablets instead as there is a large quantity of sugar in this root. Again, this remedy should not be given to young children.
Other Useful Tips:
- Always wash your hands before meals and after changing diapers.
- Do avoid areas that have insufficient water supply and improper waste disposal system as you can easily contract this flu from there.
- Do stay hydrated: sip small amounts of liquids throughout the day.
- Do not drink too much or too fast as this can induce vomiting.
- Avoid ibuprofen to relieve pain as it can make you nauseous.
- Do strengthen your immune system by eating a wide range of fruits and vegetables.
- Do take a short walk daily as studies have shown that people who do so are more resistant to bugs than those who sit the whole day.
- Do not consume spicy, acidic or greasy foods for a while to allow your body to heal quickly.
- Do take adequate bed rest.
- Do take special care of the children and the elderly as they are more vulnerable to dehydration which can manifest in form of sunken eyes, bloody vomit or stool, high fever, swollen abdomen, constant vomiting and loss of skin elasticity.
- Do take action as soon as you notice the above symptoms to avoid deterioration of health.
- Do not take dairy products and foods with gluten as they can worsen the symptoms.
- Do monitor your symptoms closely to see whether there is any improvement.
- Always keep at home effective remedies for stomach flu in case of an emergency.