PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

How do you treat stomach flu?

ANSWER

There's no cure for the stomach flu. Antibiotics don't help, because it’s caused by viruses, not bacteria. For the most part, you just have to wait it out. In the meantime, there are some things you can do to make yourself more comfortable and prevent complications.

  • Drink more. It's important to up fluid intake when you're vomiting or have diarrhea. Adults should aim to get one cup of fluid every hour. Children need 1 ounce of fluid every 30 to 60 minutes. Drink slowly, since too much at once could worsen vomiting. If your child tends to gulp, give her a frozen popsicle instead.
  • Drink wisely. When you have diarrhea, drinking more water may not be enough. You're losing important minerals and electrolytes that water can't supply. Instead, ask your doctor about giving your sick child an oral rehydration solution such as CeraLyte, Infalyte, Naturalyte, Pedialyte, and generic brands. (If your baby is still nursing or using formula, keep feeding him as usual.) Adults can use oral rehydration solutions or diluted juices, diluted sports drinks, clear broth, or decaffeinated tea. Sugary, carbonated, caffeinated, or alcoholic drinks can make diarrhea worse, so be sure to dilute sugary beverages if you drink them.
  • Don't eat only bland foods. The old advice was to stick with a liquid diet for a few days and then to add in bland foods, such as the BRAT diet of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. That's fine for the first day or so of stomach flu. However, doctors say that you should return to your normal diet as soon as you feel up to it. BRAT foods aren't bad. They just don't provide the fat and protein that you need. Sticking with them too long could actually slow your recovery.
  • Get the right nutrients. Look for foods with potassium (such as potatoes, bananas, and fruit juices), salt (such as pretzels and soup), and yogurt with active bacterial cultures. Even a little fat could help, because it slows down digestion and may reduce diarrhea. If you feel up to it, add a pat of butter or some lean meat to your next meal.
  • Use over-the-counter medications. They're not necessary, but some people find relief in medications for diarrhea and vomiting. Just use them with care, and read and follow the label instructions. Never give your child medication for diarrhea or vomiting unless your pediatrician says that you should.
  • Rest. Give your body time to recover.

From: Diarrhea and the Stomach Flu WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor: "Vomiting and Diarrhea in Children," "BRAT Diet."

American College of Gastroenterology: "Diarrheal Diseases."

CDC: "Viral Gastroenteritis," "Myths about Seasonal Influenza and Influenza Vaccines," "Updated Norovirus Outbreak Management and Disease Prevention Guidelines."

The Cochrane Library: "Hand washing for preventing diarrhea."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Viral Gastroenteritis," "Diarrhea."

National Library of Medicine Medline Plus: "Diarrhea."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "What Should You Eat When You Have Diarrhea?"

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 7, 2019

SOURCES:

American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor: "Vomiting and Diarrhea in Children," "BRAT Diet."

American College of Gastroenterology: "Diarrheal Diseases."

CDC: "Viral Gastroenteritis," "Myths about Seasonal Influenza and Influenza Vaccines," "Updated Norovirus Outbreak Management and Disease Prevention Guidelines."

The Cochrane Library: "Hand washing for preventing diarrhea."

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: "Viral Gastroenteritis," "Diarrhea."

National Library of Medicine Medline Plus: "Diarrhea."

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: "What Should You Eat When You Have Diarrhea?"

Reviewed by Carol DerSarkissian on August 7, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

How can you get stomach flu?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

    Other Answers On: