Stomach flu is something that plagues most of us at some point of time. Though, it is not a cause of concern in most cases, the symptoms associated with it are absolutely awful. Even the thought of frequent trips to the bathroom causes jitters in the stomach and makes stomach flu a scary disease. Fortunately, there are myriad remedies, which can relieve you of this uncomfortable situation. However, before exploring them, let us have a good insight on what stomach flu really is.
Causes and Symptoms
Stomach flu or gastroenteritis is a viral infection of intestines. It is a misnomer, as the virus causing this flu is different from influenza virus, which affects the respiratory system. The infection spreads due to eating contaminated food or coming in contact with an infected person. Sharing drinks and foods, eating with unwashed hands, are some of the modes of transmission of stomach flu virus.
The symptoms surface within 4 to 8 hours after the exposure to the virus. Peculiar symptoms include, fever, cold sweats, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, etc. All these symptoms lead to dehydration, which makes the condition worse. Thus, the treatment for stomach flu is mostly targeted at replenishing the loss of fluids due to vomiting and diarrhea.
Medications should be saved for the later stages of stomach flu. Most people find it silly to call a doctor for a little bug that upsets their stomach. However, if you do, your doctor is most likely to prescribe you anti-vomiting, anti-nauseating medications. If you are attempting to treat yourself with over-the-counter medications, then steer clear of antibiotics or aspirin. Antibiotics worsen the condition by killing the good bacteria in the intestine. Also for kids, remedies are best prescribed by the pediatrician. A good dose of probiotics may help you overcome the symptoms of the problem. However, before anything, you should try some natural remedies given below.
Rest is the best remedy for stomach flu. Incessant bathroom trips are bound to drain you up. Moreover, the loss of water makes you tired. Hence, as soon as the symptoms erupt, you should make it a point to lie down in bed. Avoid eating or drinking anything for the first 4 hours, this includes even water. Once the symptoms appear to ease a little, you may slowly sip water, juice or any other clear liquid. Solid foods should be avoided at any cost for at least first 24 hours. However, you may nibble some crackers or dry toast. Chicken broth, green tea, ginger ale, fruit gelatin, clear vegetable soup, are the best remedies during the first 24 hours.
Once your vomiting and diarrhea completely stops, it's alright to switch to solid foods. However, keep it light and free of fat. Boiled rice, white bread, green bananas, etc., are light on stomach apart from being good remedies for the stomach problem. Dairy products, raw foods, and foods containing tomato should be avoided for at least 10 days after the outbreak of the flu, as they tend to irritate the intestinal tract. After that, depending upon your condition, you may switch to your normal, healthy diet.
The remedies listed in this article are only helpful for mild to moderate cases of stomach flu. If you have a severe problem with abnormal symptoms, like, bloody stools or extremely high fever, you should immediately rush to your doctor.