An introduction to stomach flu
In contrast to conventional way of thinking, stomach flu, or gastric flu as it is also called is not a severe medical condition because it is triggered by a virus. As a matter of fact, most people with stomach flu tend to experience relief after 1 to 2 days without any form of medication. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should ignore the symptoms of stomach flu. If left untreated, the symptoms can become so severe to the extent that you have to be hospitalized.
Intestinal pain is one of the main symptoms that you will experience when suffering from stomach flu. While the pain can be mild in some people, there are those who experience acute abdominal pain. Other symptoms that a patient suffering from stomach pain may experience include nausea which is accompanied by vomiting, diarrhea and mild fever.
Dehydration and lethargy are some of the health complications that can be caused as a result of severe vomiting and diarrhea. While quite rare, death is sometimes one of the complications. Therefore, you cannot afford to ignore stomach flu.
Whereas the infection may clear on its own after 1-2 days, this is not always the case. There are cases of stomach flu that have been known to last between 5 and 10 days. The duration of the ailment largely depends on the status of your immune system. Consequently, you can never be certain about the duration of the ailment. Plus, you cannot simply wish for the symptoms to clear without seeking medical assistance.
Stomach Flu Treatment
The treatment for stomach flu does not entail treating the virus causing it. More than often, treatment is done with an aim of relieving the symptoms since the indicators are the ones that are responsible for complications like dehydration. If you have a strong immune system, then the body can withstand the outbreak before the virus clears on its own after 2-3 days. However, if the immune system is weak or compromised as is the case with children and middle-aged people, then the outbreak can be so severe that you need to take medications in order to clear the symptoms triggered by the infection.
Listed below are various types of treatments that you can apply in order to get rid of stomach flu:
Avoid taking food for a couple of hours
Stomach flu can cause your stomach to cease functioning as usual. In simple terms, it means that your stomach has been breached by the flu causing virus and as such is out of order. Trying to fill the stomach with food can aggravate the symptoms further since it is not yet prepared for breaking-down anything. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you stay away from food for a couple of hours. By doing so, you will be allowing your stomach enough time to adjust to the breach.
Drink a lot of water
As pointed out earlier, dehydration is one of the health complications that can be caused by the symptoms of stomach flu. Therefore, it is important that you keep your body hydrated at all times. During this period, you need to drink a lot of water. Water aids in replenishing fluids lost through either vomiting or diarrhea. In addition to taking water, you need to also consume oral hydration salts. These are designed to ensure electrolyte balance within the body.
Carbonated drinks and sugary beverages do not qualify as types of fluids to take while recovering from stomach flu. Besides hydration, taking a lot of fluids also helps in shedding the virus causing the stomach flu from the body.
Stay away from particular groups of foods
Diet also plays a crucial role in your recovery since the stomach is quite sensitive during the recovery period. Eating is essential as it helps you to recover your strength. Rice, banana, avocado, apple, mashed potatoes, refined noodles, pear juice, green peas, grapes, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, mild cheese, skim milk, eggs, creamy peanut, fish, chicken breasts, stewed meat and white bread are examples of foods that you can eat during the recovery phase.
Try as much as possible to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages and salty and spicy foods as these tend to aggravate the stomach.
Take medications designed to stop vomiting
Vomiting is one of the signs and symptoms triggered by stomach flu. On top of weakening your entire body, vomiting can also be extremely annoying. When suffering from stomach flu, anything ingested by the body can trigger vomiting. Since you are keen on maintaining your strength, it is important that you take medications to prevent vomiting. There are numerous over-the-counter medications that you can take in order to stop vomiting. However, this does not mean that you should take any type of medication without first of all consulting your doctor.
As is the case with other types of viruses like influenza and rotavirus, you need to try as much as possible to get enough bed rest. Bed rest will not only aid in keeping stress at bay, but recovering lost energy as well as losing more bodily fluids by sweating.
Stomach flu treatment is not as difficult as some people tend to think. All it requires is dedication and discipline from the affected person. Eating the right types of foods and taking a lot of water will help in the recovery of the immune system within the shortest time frame.
Is It Possible to Prevent Stomach Flu?
The secret to preventing gastric flu is adhering to proper hygiene. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), stomach flu is primarily caused through fecal-oral contact. Therefore, you need to make a point of washing your hands on a regular basis using running water and alcohol based soaps. Besides, you need to keep a hand sanitizer in your purse or car at all times so that you can sanitize your hands before drinking or handling food.
The quality of the foods and beverages which you consume are also of great importance. If you are not certain of the hygiene level of the café you intend to eat or drink from, then it is best to stay safe by opting to eat somewhere else.