Despite the name, stomach flu is not actually any kind of influenza. The “flu” part is a bit of a misnomer and the correct term for it is ‘Gastro-enteritis’ since it affects the gastrointestinal tract. Gastro-enteritis is the term used to refer to any infection of the intestines or stomach. It can be caused by not just viruses but parasites and bacteria as well. In fact, gastrointestinal infections caused by these pathogens are, more often than not, contagious; for instance, gastroenteritis due to adenovirus or norovirus, bacteria such as salmonella or E.coli, or cryptosporidium and other such parasites, can be highly contagious.
Next, how do you know if you have contracted gastroenteritis? Well, here some of the symptoms and signs of what is commonly known as stomach flu:
- Cramps and Sharp Pangs of Pain in the Abdominal Region
- Vomiting and Nausea
- Ache in muscles
- High temperature or fever
- Appetite loss
Now, coming to what one should consume or absorb when diagnosed with gastroenteritis, here are 5 natural and home remedies to help you combat stomach flu:
- Consume Fluids and keep Yourself Hydrated –Vomiting and dysentery can lead to severe dehydration, which is why it is important that you take fluids to rehydrate your body. Drink lots of water, clear liquids, sports drinks, and electrolyte solutions. Stay far away from coffee and other caffeinated drinks as caffeine is a diuretic, and can further aggravate dehydration. Instead, opt for caffeine-free teas with soothing agents such as ginger. Fresh tea helps with nausea, and peppermint soothes abdominal pain and lemon charges your drink with Vitamin C. This will not just rehydrate you and help you make up for the fluid deficit, it will also alleviate and combat the harmful effects of gastroenteritis. Another really effective home remedy is to have some apple cider vinegar diluted in water. It is known to soothe nausea and settle the stomach. For those who are having a hard time keeping down fluids, ice chips can be a great way to quench your thirst and make up for all the fluid that has been lost. One more really effective way of combating gastroenteritis is by adding a pinch of turmeric or cinnamon to your food or drink, as they are both known to alleviate the harmful effects of gastro-enteritis.
- Increase Intake of Probiotics – Increasing your intake of probiotics can go a long way in alleviating some of the symptoms of gastroenteritis. Lactobacillus strains such as S boulardi and Casei GG are excellent for when you are suffering from viral gastroenteritis. These probiotics are commonly found in yogurt, smoothies, and most other dairy products.
- Following the BRAT Diet– The BRAT diet or the Bananas Rice Applesauce and Toast Diet is always recommended for those suffering from gastroenteritis or any other kind of stomach upset. The foods in this diet help with watery diarrhea as they have binding properties and are mild and bland enough to not upset your stomach. Moreover, the nutrients from these foods can help replenish those lost due to dysentery and vomiting.
- Pain Alleviation– One of the best ways to alleviate nausea and vomiting is to activate certain pressure points on your body by way of acupressure treatment. In particular, gently pressing down on the pressure point on the inner wrist known as P-6 or Neiguan and massaging it can do wonders. Then, there is always the trusty heating pad to help ease pain and cramping in the abdominal region.
- Letting Your Body Rest, Recover, and Heal – Rest is vital if you wish to recover from any ailment and gastro-enteritis, it is no exception. Give your body time to recover and heal and do not put too much strain on it.
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