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How can you prevent the stomach flu?

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Wash your hands. According to experts, this is still the best way to stop a stomach virus. One review of studies found that good hand-washing technique cut the rate of diarrhea by 40%. Use soap and water and do it thoroughly -- for as long as it takes to recite the alphabet. Always wash your hands after using the bathroom, before eating, and after changing a diaper.

  • Use hand sanitizer, though it may not be as effective as hand-washing.
  • Wipe down surfaces.
  • Keep healthy people out of the bathroom a sick person is using.
  • Vaccines for rotavirus can protect children from some types of stomach flu.

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

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When should you see a doctor about stomach flu?

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