Stomach flu, scientifically known as Gastroenteritis, is a contagious stomach and intestinal infection. Stomach flu can be caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. The stomach flu symptoms resemble food poisoning, which may make it difficult to know the difference. However, they are not the same.
Food poisoning usually occurs a few hours after consuming contaminated food and typically clears up within a few hours or days. Stomach flu symptoms often take some time to manifest, and the infection can last up to 10 days.
Signs And Symptoms
Once you come into contact with the infection, you are likely to experience the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Dry skin and mouth
- Muscle aches
If your infant is struggling with stomach flu, you will likely notice dry mouth and constant diarrhoea. Dealing with these symptoms can be very stressful, especially nausea and diarrhea. However, you can try a few home remedies that might be more effective than over-the-counter medication. Let’s dive into these remedies, shall we?
Ginger is one of the best remedies when you are feeling unwell. It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help relieve stomach flu symptoms, especially nausea and abdominal pain. Health: 5 Benefits Of Ginger
- Add a few pieces of sliced ginger to a saucepan and one cup of water.
- Let it boil for a few minutes and drink the mixture while it is hot. You can drink this mixture twice a day until you feel better.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar contains strong anti-bacterial properties that are especially helpful in dealing with stomach flu caused by bacteria. This remedy is also the most effective when it comes to treating diarrhoea. Health: 15 Proven Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar
- Mix a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a cup of water.
- Mix well and drink the solution on an empty stomach.
Green bananas contain pectin, which helps to reduce diarrhoea. They also help to replace the potassium you lose from vomiting and strengthen the stomach lining. Bananas Are Good For Your Health – Here Is Why You Need To Eat More Of This Delicious Fruit
- Boil a few green bananas for 7-10 minutes and allow them to cool.
- Once they have cooled, mash them and consume them while still warm.
Chamomile tea has been used over the years as a remedy for various health issues like ulcers, haemorrhoids, and inflammation. It is an excellent digestive relaxant that can help reduce vomiting and diarrhoea.
- Add a tea bag to a cup of hot water and let it sit for a few minutes.
- Drink the tea while it is warm. Do this twice daily until you feel better.
Rice water is usually associated with hair; however, it is also an excellent remedy for stomach flu. It is beneficial in treating diarrhoea and is considered a good remedy for children.
- Strain water from cooked rice and let it cool for a while.
- Drink the rice water twice a day until you start to feel better.
- For your child, you can feed them small amounts of rice water after every trip to the washroom.
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Honey contains potent anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to speed up your recovery. You can also use it as a remedy for children. Health: 8 Benefits Of Honey You Should Know About
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey to a cup of water, mix and drink well.
- For your child, you can feed them small amounts of the solution after every bowel movement. This may not be the best remedy for infants below one year, as it can cause botulism.
Like ginger, turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that help with abdominal pain. It also has binding properties that help to stop diarrhoea. Spices: The Many Benefits Of Turmeric
- Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of hot water.
- Mix well and drink it on an empty stomach. You can also add honey to taste.
Foods to Consume When Dealing with Stomach Flu
The BRAT diet is the best diet to consume when dealing with stomach flu. BRAT is an acronym for bananas, rice, applesauce/apple, and toast. Bananas are easy to digest, and they replace potassium lost. Rice provides energy, and it is also easy to digest. When picking rice, make sure you go for white rice since brown rice has too much fibre. Applesauce contains pectin, which, as we have covered, is the best for diarrhoea. Toast is easy to digest. Remember, white bread has less fibre making it the best choice. Soups can also help to soothe your stomach. Chicken, carrots, and pumpkin soup are some of the best choices. Food: Simple Pumpkin Soup Recipes To Warm You Up
Foods to Avoid
Dairy Products: The major downside of dealing with stomach flu is it makes it harder for your body to digest lactose. It is best to avoid milk, cheese, and other dairy products until you feel better.
Fatty foods: Greasy and fatty food are also not recommended when dealing with stomach flu. They make you full, which can upset your stomach and cause diarrhoea.
Caffeine: Coffee and other caffeinated drinks cause dehydration, which may worsen your condition. You can instead opt for ginger, peppermint, or chamomile tea.
Fibre: Dietary fibre is good for your body; however, foods rich in fibre may not be the best choice when dealing with diarrhoea. Fibre aggravates loose bowels.
Sugar: Sugary foods and drinks can cause nausea, and they also cause a spike in blood sugar levels.
Spicy foods: Foods that contain spices, chilli, and garlic, can worsen your symptoms. They upset the stomach, and you may have more diarrhoea episodes.
Alcohol: When dealing with stomach flu, it is also recommended that you stay away from alcoholic drinks. Alcohol causes inflammation of the stomach lining and stimulates the production of gastric acid, which is terrible for nausea.
How to Prevent Stomach Flu
Stomach flu, unlike food poisoning, is very contagious. Here are a few tips you can use to avoid contracting the infection.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before eating and after visiting the washroom.
- Avoid sharing utensils with an infected person until they recover.
- Make sure you disinfect hard surfaces if any of your family members has stomach flu.
- Avoid drinking chilled water.
- If you can, avoid consuming raw foods like sushi or meat that isn’t well cooked.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you notice that you or your child are experiencing stomach flu symptoms and are unsure if it is the infection, you should consult a health specialist. Having a checkup can help to rule out whether you are dealing with food poisoning or stomach flu. If it is stomach flu, you will also be able to know if it is caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. There is no specific medication for stomach flu; however, your doctor may advise on the best self-care treatments.
Stomach flu-like food poisoning gets better with time, so there is no need to worry. The best way to ensure you recover faster is to drink plenty of water, get some rest and stick to the BRAT diet.
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