How To Prevent The Stomach Flu
Since the stomach flu can easily spread, there are things you can do to decrease your risk of contracting the flu bug. Here are some effective stomach virus prevention methods:
- Wash your hands with soap and water often, especially before preparing food or after using the bathroom.
- To prevent waterborne parasitic infections, avoid swimming, especially when diarrhea is an issue.
- People with compromised immune systems and infants who are predisposed to developing severe Salmonella poisoning should avoid common Salmonella carriers, such as birds, reptiles, and amphibians.
- Travelers should avoid contaminated food, water, and ice cubes.
- Wash your vegetables and fruits thoroughly, while also avoiding undercooked or raw foods.
- Two live vaccinations are available for preventing the rotavirus. They are considered effective against most of the strains responsible for the stomach virus.
It is always important to get plenty of rest and adequate water consumption. People who experience vomiting should take small sips of water however, if diarrhea or vomiting is prolonged, or if the person experiences severe dehydration, intravenous electrolytes may be necessary. Your doctor may recommend anti-nausea drugs, or antibiotics for bacterial stomach flus. Anti-parasitic drugs like nitazoxanide and metronidazole are also used to treat the parasitic stomach flu. However, there are plenty of natural stomach flu home remedies as well.
Bananas Rice Applesauce And Toast
Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are the foundation of the BRAT diet.
Health professionals commonly recommend these bland foods for stomach complaints, as theyre gentle on your stomach.
Keep in mind that the BRAT diet alone will not provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children return to their usual age-appropriate diets as soon as they are rehydrated .
Nonetheless, bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are safe options to start with when queasy from the stomach flu.
Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are safe foods to try while sick with the stomach flu.
How Is The Stomach Flu Diagnosed
Stomach flu is primarily diagnosed through a physical examination and a patient medical history. Most cases will be diagnosed and treated by a general practitioner.
Symptoms are the best guide for diagnosis. The defining symptom of stomach flu is loose or watery diarrhea, but other symptoms might include.
- Low-grade fever
Loss of appetite, involuntary weight loss, and bloating might also be experienced.
Symptoms of gastroenteritis usually start suddenly , coming on in one or two hours. In addition to how quickly symptoms started, a healthcare provider will want to know:
- How long have you had symptoms?
- Do other people you know have similar complaints?
- Did you eat anything unusual recently, such as raw foods?
- Did you travel recently, especially outside the country?
A physical examination will help the healthcare professional rule out other conditions. The healthcare provider will carefully look for signs of dehydration, such as sunken eyes, limpness, dry mucous membranes , loose skin, or drowsiness.
Blood or stool tests are not necessary to diagnose a viral gastroenteritis, but a healthcare provider will use them to rule out other causes, such as a bacterial infection, parasite infection, or other intestinal problems. Blood or urine tests may be necessary if there are signs of dehydration.
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Can Stomach Infections Hurt Your Baby
A stomach bug is not a virus that would spread directly to your baby. As long as you are healthy, your body will possess many natural defenses that help protect your baby from harm.
Pregnant women may have complications from viral gastroenteritis due to severe dehydration and high fever. Dehydration during pregnancy causes changes in the amniotic fluid volume and composition .
A Swedish study shows that gastroenteritis during pregnancy had an impact on the duration of pregnancy, but not on neonatal outcomes. However, it is important to seek medical care if you have stomach flu during pregnancy to avoid complications and to identify other causes that may have stomach flu-like symptoms and could warrant emergency medical care.
Talk to your doctor if you experience any of the symptoms and try the remedies and preventive measures to stay safe. Consult your healthcare provider for the right diet and medication for stomach flu and follow as prescribed to fight the infection.
Do you have any experiences to share? Tell us about them in the comments section below.
Improve Your Gut Health
Any kind of illness, but especially a stomach virus, can wreak havoc on your gut. Gut health is crucial for overall health, including that of your immune system, so it’s important to eat foods that bring your gut back into balance.
Helpful bacteria called probiotics restore the bacterial balance in your digestive system and prevent the bad bacteria from making you ill. Some examples of probiotic-rich foods include:
Some of these foods may not appeal to you right after being sick especially kimchi and sauerkraut. Yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh and kombucha may be better tolerated at first.
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What Causes A Stomach Bug
A stomach bug is usually caused by viruses, including:
- Enteric adenovirus
Viral gastroenteritis peaks in the winter and spring when these viruses are most actively spreading in the community.
The viruses that cause stomach bugs are spread from person to person by:
- Touching an infected person
- Touching a surface with the virus on it
- Consuming foods or drinks with the virus in them
What Causes A Stomach Virus
Several things can cause a stomach virus:
- Norovirus: This is the main cause. This represents a family of viruses.
- Rotavirus: This is a viral infection. This is common in babies and young kids.
Viral stomach infections are contagious. It is easy to get and give a stomach virus. It is spread by contact with an infected person, surface, or object. Stomach viruses are likely to spread at places with a lot of people. This includes schools, daycares, nursing homes, airplanes, cruise ships, and hospitals. Stomach viruses are common in cold weather months.
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Stomach Flu And Dehydration
How can I prevent dehydration?If your baby or child has had several bouts of vomiting or diarrhea, he or she will need to replace lost fluids and electrolytes.
If you are breastfeeding, continue to give your baby breastmilk. Breastmilk has fluids and electrolytes needed to prevent dehydration. Your doctor may also want you to give your baby an oral rehydration solution .
If you feed your baby formula, try switching to one that is lactose free while your baby is sick. Lactose can make diarrhea worse. Your doctor may also suggest switching from formula to an ORS for 12 to 24 hours, and then switching back.
For toddlers and young children, use an ORS, which contains the right mix of salt, sugar, potassium and other nutrients to help replace lost body fluids. Children older than 1 year may also have clear soups, clear sodas or juice mixed with water to help prevent dehydration. You should avoid giving your child plain water and dark sodas. Water alone does not contain enough salt and nutrients to help with dehydration. Dark sodas are typically very high in sugar and can irritate your childs stomach.
Signs of dehydration
- Little or lack of urine, or urine that is darker than usual
- Urinating less frequently than usual
- Dry mouth
- No tears when crying
- In babies who are younger than 18 months old, sunken soft spots on the top of their heads
- Skin that isnt as springy or elastic as usual
What is an ORS?
Should I feed my child when he or she has diarrhea?
What Can Be Done To Control Or Relieve Nausea And Vomiting
There are several ways to control or relieve nausea however, if these techniques do not seem to ease the queasiness, talk to your doctor.
When trying to control nausea:
- Drink clear or ice-cold drinks.
- Eat light, bland foods .
- Avoid fried, greasy, or sweet foods.
- Eat slowly and eat smaller, more frequent meals.
- Do not mix hot and cold foods.
- Drink beverages slowly.
- Avoid activity after eating.
- Avoid brushing your teeth after eating.
- Choose foods from all the food groups as you can tolerate them to get adequate nutrition.
Treatment for vomiting includes:
- Drinking gradually larger amounts of clear liquids
- Avoiding solid food until the vomiting episode has passed
- Temporarily discontinuing all oral medications, which can irritate the stomach and make vomiting worse
If vomiting and diarrhea last more than 24 hours, an oral rehydrating solution should be used to prevent and treat dehydration.
Vomiting associated with surgery, radiation therapy, anticancer drugs, alcohol and morphine can often be treated with another type of drug therapy. There are also prescription and nonprescription drugs that can be used to control vomiting associated with pregnancy, motion sickness and vertigo. However, you should consult with your healthcare provider before using these treatments.
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What Causes Food Poisoning
Food poisoning develops when infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses, or parasites contaminate foods. Bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella are among the top five germs that cause food poisoning in the United States. Norovirus is also within the same top-five list according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
You may get food poisoning from eating contaminated or undercooked meat. However, affected meat isnt the only food that causes food poisoning. The following foods can also lead to foodborne illness:
- raw and undercooked eggs
- unpasteurized beverages, such as milk, cider, and juice
- undercooked rice
Babies may have sunken eyes or fontanels when they become dehydrated. A fontanel is also known as the soft spot on a babys head. You should seek medical attention if any of these symptoms occur.
Eating While You’re Sick
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How Long Does The Stomach Flu Last
Most cases of viral gastroenteritis resolve on their own. A norovirus infection typically lasts one to three days, but rotavirus gastroenteritis can take up to a week to clear. Viral gastroenteritis caused by adenovirus or astrovirus holds on longer, typically taking five to 12 days to resolve. Gastroenteritis that lasts longer than two weeks, or chronic gastroenteritis, is usually due to a bacterial or parasite infection.
Whatsymptoms To Watch For
Post-infectious IBS is a constellation of symptoms that resemble irritable bowel syndrome, Dr. Kirsh says.
Symptoms are usually lesssevere than the original infection and may include:
- Abdominal cramping.
- In some cases, constipation.
Overtime people do tend to get better, he says. For most of them, this is notgoing to be lifelong IBS.
The symptoms of post-infectious IBS develop after an infectious GI bug such as viral gastroenteritis or a bacterial infection like E. coli or Salmonella or even C. difficile. Patients may suspect this condition if they had a documented GI infection that resolved, but their digestive function wont go back to normal. That should tip them off that they should seek out help.
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How Can I Take Care Of Myself
- Rest your stomach and intestines by following the suggested guidelines for your diet during the illness, but make sure you prevent dehydration by drinking enough liquids. Drink just small amounts or sips while you are having vomiting.
- Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen, or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines without checking first with your healthcare provider.
- Your symptoms are getting worse.
- You keep having severe symptoms for more than 1 or 2 days, or you are just not getting better after a few days.
- You start having symptoms that are not usually caused by stomach flu, such as blood in your vomit, bloody diarrhea, or severe abdominal pain.
Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 Now If:
- you’re worried about a baby under 12 months
- your child stops breast or bottle feeding while they’re ill
- a child under 5 years has signs of dehydration such as fewer wet nappies
- you or your child still have signs of dehydration after using oral rehydration sachets
- you or your child keep being sick and cannot keep fluid down
- you or your child have bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from the bottom
- you or your child have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 2 days
111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or .
Get an urgent GP appointment
A GP may be able to help you.
Ask your GP practice for an urgent appointment.
Check with the GP surgery before going in. A GP may speak to you on the phone.
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Is The Stomach Flu Contagious
Yes, extremely. It spreads via the fecal-oral route , which basically means viruses from infected feces or vomit find their way into our mouths. The CDC says people with norovirus illness can shed billions of norovirus particles, and you only need a few of them to get sick. Very diligent hand washing is your best defense, according to Dr. Rogg.
Wash carefully if you’re changing diapers or cleaning up after a sick child, and grown-ups in the household should clean up after themselves if they can, advises Ryan Madanick, MD, a gastroenterologist and assistant professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
How To Get Rid Of The Stomach Flu: 7 Home Remedies That Can Help
Getting rid of a stomach virus can actually be as simple as waiting 24 to 28 hours for symptoms to subside. If youre looking to feel better faster and recover well from the stomach flu, there are some natural remedies that you can easily do at home that have been known to help boost the recovery process.
Do you know what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say about how to get rid of stomach flu caused by the norovirus? According to the CDC:
There is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness. Norovirus infection cannot be treated with antibiotics because it is a viral infection. If you have norovirus illness, you should drink plenty of liquids to replace fluid lost from throwing up and diarrhea. This will help prevent dehydration.
When you have the stomach flu, youre most likely dealing with diarrhea and/or vomiting. Both of these symptoms mean a lot of water loss for your body and the chance of dehydration which only makes you feel that much worse. To avoid becoming dehydrated from the stomach flu, its really important that you consume a lot of clear liquids like water, coconut water and herbal tea.
2. What To Eat
3. What Not to Eat
You want to know how to get rid of the stomach flu fast? Well, what you dont put into your body can be just as important or helpful as what you do put into your body! If you have the stomach flu, there are certain foods and drinks youll want to avoid until youre feeling better.
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How To Get Rid Of The Stomach Flu
The best way to get rid of the stomach flu is to stop it from coming at all. The following tips are ways to prevent spreading illness: Wash your hands: Wash often and use hand sanitizer when in public. Sanitize your house: Use disinfectant to clean surfaces in your house like the doorknob, sinks, toilets, phones, etc. Separate laundry loads: If someone is sick in your house, wash their clothes in a separate load. Stay apart from each other: Stay away from someone who is sick. Anyone who is sick needs to stay home until they haven’t had symptoms for 48 hours. Immunize children: Infants get immunized with a rotavirus vaccine. This is a form of stomach flu.
How Is It Treated
The most important thing to do is to rest the stomach and intestine. You can do this by not eating solid food for a while and drinking only clear liquids. As your symptoms go away, you can start eating soft bland foods that are easy to digest.
If you have been vomiting a lot, it is best to have only small, frequent sips of liquids. Drinking too much at once, even an ounce or two, may cause more vomiting.
Your choice of liquids is important. If water is the only liquid you can drink without vomiting, that is OK. However, if you have been vomiting often or for a long time, you must replace the minerals, sodium and potassium, that are lost when you vomit. Ask your healthcare provider what sport drinks or other rehydration drinks could help you replace these minerals.
Other clear liquids you can drink are weak tea and apple juice. You may also drink soft drinks without caffeine after letting them go flat . It may be easier to keep down liquids that are cold. Avoid liquids that are acidic or caffeinated or have a lot of carbonation. Do not drink milk until you no longer have diarrhea.
Sometimes treatment includes prescription medicine to prevent nausea and vomiting or diarrhea.
Nonprescription medicine is available for the treatment of diarrhea and can be very effective. If you use it, make sure you use only the dose recommended on the package. If you have chronic health problems, always check with your healthcare provider before you use any medicine for diarrhea.