You or your child has the stomach flu. This means that a bacteria or virus has caused the stomach and bowels to become inflamed and upset. This will usually run it’s course in 24-48 hours. Here are some treatment guidelines.
What to eat:
A good diet to follow is called the BRAT diet. This consists of:
These foods are a good foundation for an upset stomach. You may also want to try saltine crackers, plain oatmeal, jello, plain boiled potatoes, chicken or beef broth, or any other food you think of as bland.
What to avoid:
You will want to avoid dairy products, spicy foods, fruits and vegetables for a while. These things are usually hard on the stomach, and in some people, can make diarrhea worse.
What to drink:
Basically, clear liquids, or anything you can see through is safe to drink. This means you will want to avoid things like orange juice and milk or milk products. It is helpful to drink pedialyte or Gatorade, this helps replace some nutrients that may have been lost through vomiting or diarrhea. Water is ok to drink, but not in large quantities right now.
What to take:
Sometimes an over the counter medication called Emetrol works well to slow down vomiting. This is basically a very sugary solution that seems to settle the stomach. A can of fruit, in heavy syrup will oftentimes do the same thing. It works to take 1-2 tablespoons of the fruit syrup every 15 minutes until the nausea is improved.
It is probably a good idea to avoid Ibuprofen right now, as this may aggravate the nausea. If you feel you need pain relief, once the stomach has settled down, you may want to try some Tylenol. However, this may aggravate the nausea.
When to call the doctor:
If you have not urinated in 12 hours, or you notice your mouth is really dry and sticky, or if you have had regular vomiting for more than about 24 hours, or diarrhea more than 3 days, you need to call the office.
When to start adding other foods back into your diet:
If you have not been vomiting for 24 hours, you may slowly start to add other foods back into your diet. It is a good idea to continue to avoid spicy foods and uncooked fruits and vegetables for a little while. Let your stomach be your guide. If your stomach starts to become upset again after adding more foods, you may need to cut back to a bland diet for another day or two.
Is the stomach flu contagious?
As with any illness, it is very important for you to wash your hands regularly, especially after using the restroom. The stomach flu can be contagious. With careful hand washing, and having other household members avoid using the same cups and utensils as you, the spread of the stomach flu can be decreased.