Health and Fitness
What to do when you have the stomach flu

What is stomach flu?
Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is a highly contagious medical condition and its symptoms are watery diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.
This illness is caused by coming in contact with an infected person. While viruses are the primary drivers of this medical condition, stomach flu is also caused by certain types of bacteria.
The sickness lasts for not more than 10 days but the initial few days can be very painful for the patient particularly if she happens to be a young child.


Staying hydrated: Staying hydrated is one of the most important and effective treatments for stomach flu. Water retention is critical in this illness. We pass away more water than we ingest so having ample water is crucial in cases of viral gastroenteritis. However, do not restrict the fluid intake to water. Give your child water laced with electrolytes. These substances restore the balance of salts and electrolytes in the human body. You can get these electrolytes at the local drug store. Do not give milk to your child in this medical condition as it will make her condition worse. Some sports drinks contain a lot of sugar. This is ok if the patient is an adult but do not give them to children.If you have an infant who has stomach flu, then consider breast feeding to relieve it from this illness. Consult your doctor in such a situation.

Introducing food gradually: Once your child has started taking fluids, now is the time to introduce her to foods that are light and easy to digest. Rice, toast, bananas, bread, potatoes, yogurt, crackers etc. are good for her. Once she has started taking these foods, you can consider adding meat and cooked vegetables to her diet.Avoid giving fatty and spicy foods to your child, they will make her stomach flu worse.

Avoid over the counter drugs: Many parents are troubled by seeing their kids suffer because of stomach flu. Resist the temptation of giving drugs to your child in such situations. Stick to bland foods and fluids. Over-the-counter drugs may harm the body in the long run. For example, Ibuprofen may make the stomach flu even worse. Research has demonstrated that acetaminophen can cause liver problems. Anti-diarrhea drugs may cause the illness to last longer and in cases of young children having stomach flu, these medicines can be extremely dangerous.
However, if your child is running temperature, then you may give her acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring the fever down.
When do I see the doctor?

In most cases, this illness goes away after a few days. But you must consult a doctor if the following symptoms persist in your child.
• Little or no urination
• Having a dry mouth
• No tears while crying
• Temperature more than 102 F
• If the soft spot on the top of your baby’s skull is sunken
• Blood in the stool

Stomach flu can be treated by having lots of fluids and light food. Consult a doctor if your baby is showing signs of dehydration even after a few days.

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