How the Stomach Flu Is Treated
In most cases, viral gastroenteritis (commonly known as stomach flu) doesn’t require to be treated by a physician. Home remedies, like getting plenty of fluids and eating a bland diet, can treat symptoms until the illness passes.
For people who have a digestive disease or another serious illness, however, seeking advice from a doctor might be required to avoid complications.
Diarrhea and vomiting from viral gastroenteritis are common and in most cases, will resolve on their own in a few days. It tends to be uncomfortable, of course, so it’s understandable to want to try to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of symptoms.
Diarrhea and vomiting can result in losing a lot of water from the body, so avoiding becoming dehydrated is essential. It’s unlikely that a healthy person will become dehydrated from a day or two of vomiting and diarrhea, but watching for signs of dehydration in those who are vulnerable to it is essential.
When vomiting is occurring, it may not be possible to keep down much food, if any at all. That’s OK, focus on staying hydrated.
When vomiting stops and food is staying down again, eating bland, starchy foods may help. At first, people with gastroenteritis may not have much of an appetite, so it will be essential to eat something that seems appetizing and won’t reason more vomiting.
Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods tend to be easier on the stomach and may help bulk up stool and make it less watery.
Some points to remember about eating BRAT foods:
- Avoiding brown or wild rice; white rice works best.
- Avoid bread that contains too much fiber (such as whole wheat, nuts, or seeds).
An essential, but perhaps overlooked, part of recovering from the stomach flu is getting enough rest. Stay home from work or school, sleep or get as much rest as possible.
Avoiding being around people who are not sick is essential to stop the spread of the infection and staying in a quiet, calm environment where rest can occur may help with recovery.