One minute you’re perfectly fine; the next, you’re racing to the nearest bathroom. Stomach flu, or what is correctly called viral gastroenteritis, is serious business.
The stomach flu is technically not influenza at all. We call it that because it makes us feel just bad as seasonal flu does, but with symptoms concentrated in the pits of our guts. You know it when you have it: diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cramps and sometimes fever. Stomach flu symptoms — which can range from mild to horrific — can last 24-48 hours or as long as 10 miserable days.
Antibiotics won’t help because the cause of your discomfort is viral. You can head to the store for some medication, but do you really want to swallow drugs when nearly everything makes you queasy? Here are some home remedies for the stomach flu that likely won’t cure you, but the treatments may help ease the ickiness for a while.
Things to do
This might sound obvious, but the most natural remedy for stomach flu — or any illness — is to rest your body, and sleep as much as possible.
2. Stop eating
If you’re feeling queasy, or especially if you’re vomiting, give your stomach a break. Let things settle for a few hours and don’t eat anything.
Put a heating pad or microwaveable heat pack on your stomach to ease cramps and stomach pain.
Things to drink
4. Ice chips
One dangerous side effect of stomach flu is dehydration. But when you’re feeling horrid, you may not be able to keep anything in your stomach — even tiny sips of water. The next best thing is an ice chip or two. Suck on a few to stay hydrated.
5. Clear fluids
When you have diarrhea or you’re vomiting, you need to increase the amount you’re drinking. WebMD suggests 1 cup of fluid every hour for adults. Sip slowly so you keep it down. Water may not be enough, so try sports drinks or clear broth. Skip caffeinated, sugary or carbonated drinks because they can make diarrhea worse.
6. Rice water
Rice water (water left over after boiling brown rice) is high in electrolytes. Strain it, cool it and sip it. A study published in the Lancet found it eased diarrhea in babies better than an electrolyte solution.
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