Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is a viral infection of the GI tract, and there is no drug that will kill the virus. Other infections of the gastric system can be managed with antibiotics; however stomach flu requires symptomatic treatment. Managing the symptoms of the condition effectively and following a strict dietary regimen will speed up the cure.
Whilst stomach flu is more often than not a minor, unpleasant episode; at times it could be fraught with grave complications. Take care of what you eat and how much you rest, and you’ll be fine. The condition can be serious when one does not drink adequate fluids to replace that which is lost through diarrhea and vomiting, particularly in infants, children, and old people.
Symptoms Of Stomach Flu
Common presenting symptoms are:
- Fever, lassitude, lethargy.
- Fatigue and prostration.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Occasional blood in diarrhea.
- Abdominal cramps.
Natural Home Remedies For Stomach Flu
Here are some simple home based remedies that help to give some relief and alleviate abdominal discomfort.
- Ginger tea: grate about 1 inch of fresh ginger root (you may use dried ginger powder, in case fresh ginger isn’t available) add a glass of water and boil for 15 minutes.
- Mint decoction: mint is another very effective home remedy. Mint reduces stomach irritation, soothes the gut lining and allays cramps and pains speedily. Boil 10 leaves of mint in a glass of water and sip the tea through the day.
- Peppermint essential oil: aromatherapy has been proved to be very effective in the management of a host of conditions, including the symptoms of gastritis and GI derangements. Peppermint essential oil has several health benefits. Take 2 drops of the essential oil and gently massage the belly, without exerting any pressure. Peppermint steps up the working of the digestive tract and alleviates abdominal discomfort and pain.
Foods To Eat With Gastroenteritis
What you eat when you have a GI tract disorder plays a crucial role in determining how soon you will recover and whether complications will develop:
- Once the attack sets in, only have water and fluids for a period of 4 – 8 hours. Water and fluids is very essential to combat dehydration. Vomiting and diarrhea make you weak and dehydrated; and replenishing the lost water is very important. Have clear liquids such as herbal tea, ginger ale and lime juice.
- For 24 hours, steer clear of all solid foods, except crackers / toast; they reduce nausea significantly.
- Gradually embark on to a light diet.
- Avoid foods that are high in fats as well as dairy products.
- Have plenty of fresh fruits and salads.
- Gradually start having small meals. Have soups, broths, and barley water and fruit juices. Whole wheat and rice can be had after about 3 to 4 days.
- The general guideline is to consume food that is easy to digest, and relatively bland.
In addition to all these guidelines, it is vital that you get plenty of rest. Rest is vital to battle the symptoms of the stomach flu and to restore normal energy levels in the body. Also, do consult your physician, especially in case of persistent vomiting, bloody diarrhea and high grade fever.