How to Get Rid of Stomach Flu? 4 Effective Tips

Scientifically known as viral gastroenteritis, stomach flu is highly contagious. Unpleasant symptoms like cramps, nausea, diarrhea, fever, and vomiting accompany stomach flu. This condition is highly common worldwide. 

Only recently, USA Today revealed that the cases of stomach flu, sometimes referred to as “norovirus,” are on the rise in the U.S. Per the most recent data from the CDC, over 12% of tests for the virus were positive. 

People with stomach flu typically recover on their own in a few days. But there are several ways you can accelerate the recovery process. Read on to learn how you can get rid of stomach flu. 

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids

Diarrhea and constant vomiting– the two common symptoms of stomach flu– can lead to dehydration. Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu can become dangerous if it leads to dehydration. Thus, replenishing lost fluids is essential. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises people to drink plenty of liquids to replace lost fluids. Sip on water at regular intervals to make up for lost fluids. However, if keeping liquids down is difficult for you, suck on or chew ice chips. This will help you stay hydrated.

Broth-based soups also help with hydration because of their very high water content. Broth soups are also high in sodium, an electrolyte that people lose with frequent diarrhea and vomiting. You can add chicken soup, beef soup, and Thai coconut soup to your diet. These soups are a great source of hydration. 

Some even drink over-the-counter preparations like Pedialyte. You can also consider them, as they help prevent or reverse dehydration. 

2. Try the BRAT Diet

Nausea and vomiting accompany stomach flu. The mere thought of food might make you throw up. However, your body needs to replenish nutrients lost due to diarrhea and vomiting. Heavy or spicy foods are a big no-no as they worsen the symptoms of stomach flu. Instead, try the BRAT diet. 

Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast make up the BRAT diet. These bland foods are easy to digest because they are low in protein, fat, and fiber. Opt for white rice instead of brown, as the latter has too much fiber and might produce excess gas. In regards to bread, go for white bread. It’s processed and easier to digest than whole-wheat bread. 

However, do not follow the BRAT diet for children because it’s too nutritionally restrictive. 

3. Consider IV Therapy

Oral fluids help prevent or restore hydration, but they are helpful in mild cases of dehydration. In the case of severe dehydration, intravenous (IV) fluids are recommended. IV therapy helps replenish electrolytes and fluids lost during stomach flu, which fastens the recovery process. 

IV therapy will help you recover quickly because the fluids are administered directly into the veins and absorbed into the bloodstream faster than when you take them orally. Thus, the body’s electrolyte levels are restored quickly. 

The CDC supports the use of IV fluids for rehydration. It recommends Ringer’s lactate IV fluid to rehydrate the body for individuals with severe dehydration. 

While IV therapy is generally considered safe, it’s vital to discuss the risks with your doctor. We say so because Bard, whose port catheters are implanted under the skin for easy administration of fluids in chemotherapy, has been facing public scrutiny for various side effects. 

The particles of barium sulfate, a material used to manufacture Bard Power Port catheters, TorHoerman Law explains, break away from the catheter, causing the device to fracture or migrate. This increases a person’s risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, blood clots, arterial puncture, and heart attack. 

In 2022, a woman from Missouri developed blood clots due to Bard Power Port, which was implanted under her skin for the administration of chemotherapy for colon cancer. She filed a Bard Power Port lawsuit, in which she accused the manufacturer and the doctors who failed to warn about the risks of blood clots linked with the use of Bard Power Ports. 

Be sure to check the brand of the port catheter before it’s implanted under your skin. Go for any brand except Bard. That is because its Power Port catheters are linked with severe injuries and complications. 

Therefore, be sure to ask your doctor about the brand of catheter they will be using for administering IV therapy. That way, you can research it and be sure it doesn’t pose any risk to your well-being. 

4. Try Over-the-Counter Medications

Medicines don’t cure stomach flu; however, they do help alleviate its symptoms. 

Ibuprofen (Advil) can help if you have a fever or body aches. However, take it sparingly. It can cause gastrointestinal issues, such as stomach pain or reflux. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) also helps relieve fever and aches and has fewer side effects than Ibuprofen. 

Over-the-counter medications such as Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) and Imodium (loperamide) can help alleviate diarrhea. Speak with a healthcare provider before you take any medication, however. They will be able to guide you in the best way possible in this regard. 

To wrap things up, you can manage stomach flu symptoms by keeping yourself hydrated, trying the BRAT diet, and getting IV fluids. Some over-the-counter medications can also help relieve the symptoms, but you shouldn’t take them without consulting a medical professional. 

Most people recover from stomach flu within two to three days. In severe cases, however, stomach flu can last up to a week. Contact a healthcare provider if symptoms don’t improve after a few days or if you develop severe diarrhea and vomiting.

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Reviewed and Checked by Worldlistmania Editor