Stomach flu remedies
Recover from the stomach flu!
When you are suffering from the flu, the observation that it's only the stomach flu definitely adds insult to injury. Here are some measures that do help you recover from stomach flu symptoms as quickly and comfortably as possible.
Both your body overall and your stomach and intestinal tract in particular need rest. If you are actively vomiting, doctors suggest that you begin your rest period immediately, taking in nothing including water for four hours. You may rinse your mouth to rid it of any foul tastes, but do not drink water for this period if you can avoid it.
After that initial four-hour period take sips of water and over the next four to eight hours work up to small amounts of clear liquids like water, tea, ginger ale or fruit gelatin. Resist the impulse to have larger amounts of ginger ale or gelatin because the sugar they contain may contribute to further stomach upset.
For 24 hours, try to avoid all solid foods except dry toast or crackers. After that, proceed with caution by avoiding foods that are high in fat or dairy products that may continue to aggravate your intestinal tract. Try to avoid these foods for as many as 10 days.
At this point, everyone has his or her own strategies for getting back to normal. Some swear by saltine crackers and flat soda pop; others resort to a day or two of boiled rice and tea or fat-free chicken broth.
The general guideline is bland and unchallenging. Raw vegetables and fruit, meats and cottage cheeses and butter on toast remain for the future. During this rest period, your body will tell you how you are doing. If symptoms recur, take a dietary step back and begin climbing the hill again.
General rest will make the symptoms of headache, fever and dehydration less uncomfortable and will also prevent you from sharing the flu with others while you are the most contagious.
As you can see from the above, clear fluids are your best ally while you have stomach-flu symptoms. They usually include water, weak tea, soda pop, fruit gelatin and later apple juice and fat-free chicken broth. Those treating stomach flu tend to argue over whether soda should be bubbly or flat. In small quantities, either would likely be fine. Coffee is technically a clear liquid but can produce other irritants.
One of the reasons that vomiting and diarrhea make you feel weak and tired is that they lead to dehydration. You will begin feeling better when you can take in small amounts of liquid. Slow but steady is the pace. Do not try to consume large amounts of liquid to wash away the flu. These fluids can place too much pressure on your already-stressed digestive system.
Likewise, do not decide to go completely dry to starve out the bug, which can make other symptoms like fever and stomach cramps worse.
Medications can help in later stages of the stomach flu. Although you may feel silly calling your doctor about a little bug, do it at least once when you have stomach flu, to determine the schedule on which he or she wants you to take medication for a headache or fever or continuing diarrhea.
If your child has stomach-flu symptoms, check with your pediatrician for guidelines. Treatment for children may vary from that for adults.
What to Do If It Doesn't Clear Up
What do you do when stomach-flu symptoms do not follow the usual course or do not clear up within three to 10 days? The following symptoms merit a doctor's call, either during the flu or afterward:
- High and persistent fever: A fever above 101 degrees or a fever lasting for more than three days is not good. This may indicate that you need greater hydration or that you have something other than stomach flu.
- Bloody diarrhea: If you have this symptom, something more than stomach flu may be going on.
- Other flu symptoms: If you have persistent flu symptoms or incredibly severe or prolonged symptoms of stomach flu, they might not fit the flu picture.
Stomach flu, while one of the more graphic illnesses you can contract, is usually a minor, unpleasant episode. Take extra care with what you eat and how much rest you get for the week following the flu and soon you'll feel just fine.