What is the stomach flu?
Stomach flu is a highly contagious infection of the stomach and intestines. It is at times called viral gastroenteritis and shows itself through symptoms like chills, fever, nausea, watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting. Undoubtedly, these symptoms are awful, and the sad news is that there is no specific treatment for this condition.
A variety of viruses are responsible for stomach flu, and people develop the disease after they come in contact with infected persons or eating contaminated food. In a few instances, the flu can be caused by bacteria.
Stomach Flu Remedies
Stomach flu usually disappears within a few days in most people. However, there are some remedies you can use to alleviate the symptoms. They include:
1. Drinking a lot of fluids
Vomiting, diarrhea, and sweating cause immense loss of essential body fluids and salts. Sipping liquids at regular intervals can help you keep hydrated. But you need to be careful with the type of fluids you drink.
The best drinks are clear fluids like water, sports drinks to replace electrolytes, over-the-counter-preparations, and some teas like ginger tea.
Caffeinated drinks, black tea, chocolate, and alcohol should be avoided as they can further upset your stomach.
2. Get enough Rest
One of the significant effects of stomach flu is a feeling of extreme tiredness.
Thus, people with stomach flu should get enough rest. This way, they preserve much energy to fight the stomach and intestinal infections as well as repair the damages.
Resting allows the immune system to work well, and the cells repair very quickly. So resting both daytimes at night is very important.
3. Heating pad
A heating pad is very useful in lowering the stomach cramps.
The heat generated relaxes the intestinal or stomach muscles, which in turn increases blood flow to the abdomen and eases the pain.
This method can reduce nausea. You can try this method by measuring a distance of 3 finger-width from the bottom of the palm, then apply pressure between the tendons using your thumb.
Try massaging a couple of times. Acupuncturists use this method to alleviate stomach flu pain based on an assessment of the individual’s level of energy, which is located on different meridians.
5. BRAT diet
Sometimes doctors recommend that patients having stomach flu should take a BRAT diet based on the fact that the foods are easy to digest, and your body can tolerate them well. Basically, BRAT stands for:
Remember, these foods are carbohydrates. Thus, they are an excellent source of energy that you need during these moments. The foods are low in fiber, which may keep the stool firmer while the ample supply of banana offers the much-required source of potassium.
Nevertheless, you shouldn’t take the meal for long because the diet plan is devoid of proteins, fiber, and fat. This may lead to adverse health effects.
Use white rice because brown rice has too much fiber and may produce excess gas. Applesauce, on the other hand, contains pectin, a substance that can help with diarrhea. When it comes to toast, you should avoid whole-wheat bread. Such bread has high fiber, which can be difficult on the digestive system.
Food is very crucial in the management of stomach flu. So you should avoid the following foods: dairy products, fiber, greasy foods, and spices.
6. Medication with caution
Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-diarrheal medications and antibiotics can give you quick relief from stomach flu.
Anti-diarrheal medications include Loperamide hydrochloride (Imodium) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol). For aches and fevers, you can use OTC painkillers such as ibuprofen (Advil) can reduce the pain.
However, be careful that it doesn’t cause more stomach upset. This drug also has some effects on your kidney if you do not take enough water.
Doctors also recommend the use of Acetaminophen (Tylenol) to treat stomach flu. But people with liver diseases, must not use the drug. The drug is best for relieving fever and aches.
7. Supplements and probiotics
If you have viral gastroenteritis taking probiotics like Lactobacillus casei may help treat watery diarrhea. Yogurt contains the right amount of probiotics. If you take them, it might help to relieve diarrhea. Take low fat or free fat yogurt for better outcomes.
Zinc supplements are also effective in reducing the severity of stomach flu.