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How to Get Rid of Stomach Flu

Updated on October 23, 2013


Whether you call it stomach flu, stomach virus, gastroenteritis, traveler's diarrhea, or something else, one thing is for sure: stomach flu is an annoying and painful condition. Although most cases of stomach flu only last for 24 hours, it can be potentially deadly especially for infants and the elderly. Treating the stomach flu isn't an easy task and it is best to avoid having it in the first place. Find out how to get rid of stomach flu by following the tips below.

Symptoms of Stomach Flu

The most common symptoms of stomach flu include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Vomiting

  • Abdominal pain

  • Fever

  • Cold sweat


What Causes Stomach Flu?

Despite the name, stomach flu has nothing to do with influenza. Viral and bacterial infection are the most common causes of stomach flu. Children usually get the stomach flu because of a viral infection. This typically lasts 1-2 days while gastroenteritis caused by bacteria may last for a week.

Ingestion of contaminated food or water is the main reason why people get stomach flu. Direct contact with other persons also spread virus and bacteria, especially when proper hand washing is neglected after passing stool or handling diapers.

How to Get Rid of Stomach Flu

1. Drink plenty of fluids.

Diarrhea, fever and vomiting can lead to dehydration, which may cause further complications if not properly treated. Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Avoid beverages containing caffeine and alcohol, as these ingredients have a diuretic effect. Drink clear liquids such as juices and broth. Noncaffeinated sports drink such as Gatorade are also recommended to replace lost electrolytes.

2. Avoid certain foods.

Treating the stomach flu entails a little sacrifice; it may be necessary to avoid some of your favorite foods to prevent irritating your stomach. Stay away from dairy products, greasy foods, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. These can worsen dehydration and further upset your stomach.

3. Let it run its course.

The best way to get rid of stomach flu fast is to just let it run its course. If you are healthy, the symptoms will usually go away within 24-48 hours. You can try to speed up the healing process or ease the discomfort by treating the symptoms present.

4. Have enough rest.

Battling the stomach flu can leave you with little energy. Allow your body to have enough rest to have sufficient energy to fight the infection. Avoid tiring and stressful activities as much as possible. Do not force yourself to go to work if you are feeling very ill. Forcing yourself to accomplish your daily routines when you have stomach flu will only complicate your condition.

5. Be careful with medications.

It is rare that you need medications to treat stomach flu. Even doctors do not prescribe medications for stomach flu unless the condition or certain symptoms become serious. It is highly suggested to consult your doctor first before using painkillers or any medication.

6. Visit your doctor.

Stomach flu is usually not serious, but there are cases when you need to visit your doctor. If your stomach flu comes with high fever, blood in the vomit or stool, dizziness, or if vomiting lasts more than 2 days, it is best to seek medical care immediately. Proper tests and diagnosis must be done in order for the doctor to determine how to get rid of stomach flu.

How to Prevent Stomach Flu

When it comes to gastroenteritis, prevention is key. Spreading virus and bacteria can be prevented by following these common-sense guidelines:

  • Keep your hands clean – This simple task can make a huge difference when trying to prevent the spread of intestinal infections. Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, especially after moving your bowels or handling your baby's diaper. Take your time and rinse thoroughly, making sure that your fingernails and the creases in your hands are also cleaned. Teach your child the importance of washing their hands. Also keep a sanitizer or rubbing alcohol so you can still clean your hands when water and soap are not available.

  • Do not share personal items – Sharing personal items increases the risk of acquiring virus and bacteria. Use separate towels, glasses, and utensils.

  • Avoid direct contact with infected persons – When someone has the stomach flu, it is best to avoid direct physical contact with him or her. Also clean objects that the infected person may come in contact with such as the remote control, doorknobs and personal items.

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