Learn More About Foods to Fight Stomach Flu

Learn More About Foods to Fight Stomach Flu
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What is a Stomach Flu?

The stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, is generally caused by a virus. As such, it is easily spread from person to person. When someone in the home comes down with this ailment, it is important to take great care to avoid spreading the illness all over the home. People affected by the stomach flu may experience: cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which will usually last one or two days. Here is a list of foods to fight stomach flu so you can stay healthy even you don’t feel like eating.

Staying Hydrated

Do not attempt to eat solid food if you feel as though it will make you vomit. The important part of treating the condition is letting the digestive system rest. Do not ingest liquids within two hours of vomiting.

After two hours have passed, you can:

  • suck on hard candies
  • eat popsicles
  • chew on ice chips

Focus on taking small, frequent sips of clear liquids every 10 to 15 minutes to keep hydrated. If you drink too much at one time, it may cause additional vomiting. If water is the only thing you can drink, this is better than nothing.

If there has been frequent vomiting for long periods of time, you run the risk of losing important nutrients your body needs, so you’ll need to move to other liquids such as sports drinks like Gatorade to replace the electrolytes and potassium your body lost from vomiting.

Other liquids you can drink include:

  • weak tea
  • apple juice
  • bouillon
  • clear sodas such as Sprite, 7 UP, Sierra Mist and Ginger ale. It is ideal to let the soda go flat a bit before drinking it as the carbonation can irritate your stomach and lead to more nausea.

Putting the liquids in the refrigerator to chill them may make them easier to keep down.

Avoid acidic drinks. Do not drink caffeine. Avoid milk until diarrhea passes.

By focusing on clear liquids, you’re taking care to avoid dehydration, but you’re not putting your digestive system through any trauma that could lead to more vomiting. Don’t rush getting back to solid foods until you feel like you can handle it.

Foods and Drinks for After the Vomiting Stops

If the vomiting has stopped after a few hours and you have been able to keep the clear liquid down for a while without getting sick again, it is safe to move to soft, bland, foods such as:

  • saltine crackers,
  • mashed potatoes,
  • applesauce,
  • bananas
  • plain pasta or rice (no sauce, no butter)
  • toast

Once you can keep these foods down for a while without getting sick, you can safely work your way back up to eating soft vegetables and meat portions. Progressing from liquid to soft bland food will gradually get your digestive system back to normal again, without shocking it. If you find yourself getting sick again, eliminate the food that started the sickness again, and go back to clear liquids until you feel up to it again.

Resources

KidsHealth.org: Stomach Flu

Brown University

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