The stomach flu causes the following symptoms: (3)
- Watery, usually non-bloody diarrhea (bloody diarrhea can mean you have a different, possibly more severe infection)
- Abdominal cramps and pain
- Nausea, vomiting or both
- Occasional muscle aches or headache
- Low-grade fever
Stomach Flu CausesMost commonly, the stomach flu occurs through contact with an infected person or by ingesting contaminated food or water.
The viruses that cause gastroenteritis vary and include: (4)
- Noroviruses. Children and adults alike are affected by noroviruses. It’s the most common cause of foodborne illnesses worldwide. In particular, it’s likely to spread among those in confined spaces. Most of the time, you pick it up from contaminated food or water, although transmission from person-to-person is also possible.
- Rotavirus. This is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in children, who are typically infected when they put their fingers or other items contaminated with the virus into their mouths. The most severe cases of this infection are in children and infants. While adults may have no symptoms, they can still spread the illness.
To help fight the virus and stomach flu symptoms, try these 7 natural remedies:
1. Stay HydratedThe CDC states that as there is no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness, those with the illness should drink plenty of water to help replace fluid lost from vomiting and diarrhea. (5) And as the stomach flu can cause, vomiting or diarrhea, staying hydrated is paramount as part of a stomach flu treatment. However, you’ll want to avoid solid food if you’ve not been able to keep anything down. Suck on ice chips or sip water in small quantities. (6)
2. What To EatWhen you’re looking for a stomach flu treatment, you should keep in mind a mild, bland diet is best. For example, the BRAT diet, wherein BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, may help you while you’re recovering from the stomach flu. They are all easy on the stomach as well, and they can help bind you up, which can be beneficial when dealing with diarrhea. However, don’t rely on this diet for too long, for risk of malnourishment. (7)
3. What Not to EatWhen you’re treating stomach flu symptoms, what you put into your body can be just as vital as what you don’t put into it. Generally speaking, as part of a stomach flu treatment plan, you’ll want to avoid the following types of food:
- Tomato products
- Foods that are fatty, greasy, spicy, or salty