Stomach flu, also referred to as viral gastroenteritis, is an inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract caused by viral infection. Despite the name, it is neither a referred sign of the common flu disease nor is it caused by the influenza virus. In fact, many viral species are capable of causing flu, of which some are rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, and sapovirus. It is not a very serious medical problem, and effective recovery is achieved with a well-planned diet, and drinking ample amounts of healthy fluids.
In the United States, viral gastroenteritis is the second most commonly reported medical problem. Every year stomach flu in children is diagnosed at a higher rate. Symptoms like vomiting and watery stool, usually begin within 1 – 2 days of infection. Other associated signs include, stomach ache, headache, chills, and fever. Coming to the treatment part, there is nothing much to do about the flu. The only approach that can be taken up, from the patient’s side, is to follow the right diet for managing the symptoms, and avoiding dehydration.
Every individual should be aware about stomach flu symptoms and it remedies, so as to start home treatment methods at the first sign of the disease. The basic treatment is aimed at reducing excess fluid loss from the body. This is very important for young children and old patients, who are at a higher risk of dehydration complications. The length of this viral infection may be just 2 days in healthy adults, while symptoms may persist for 10 days in infants, children, and elderly individuals. For your reference, a few recovery diet tips have been explained below:
» Limit Solid Food Intake
At the first symptom of stomach flu, it is imperative to devour on soups, broth, fruit juices, and other liquid foods. They are easy to digest without worsening the inflammatory condition of the GI tract. The point is to eliminate solid food items that cause increased pressure on the digestive system. Of course, one can eat foods that do not cause stomach irritation. Regarding fluid choices, in the diet for a toddler, most pediatrics suggest feeding Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) frequently.
» Drink Lots of Fluids
Whether you are referring to a diet for kids or for adults, the first and foremost guideline is to drink lots of water and healthy liquids. This is because, frequent bowel movement experienced during a stomach flu episode causes loss of electrolytes from the body. And the ultimate results are electrolyte imbalance, weakness, and dehydration. Hence, to avoid such cases, a patient of gastroenteritis should drink a lot of fluids to compensate the fluid loss.
» Remember the BRAT Diet
An accepted diet for patients undergoing home treatment is the BRAT diet. Under this diet, an individual can consume bananas, rice, apples, and toast (sometimes, tea is also included, preferably green or black tea). Thus the name, BRAT. The combination of these food alternatives helps in providing essential nutrients that we need everyday for optimal health. In the diet for children, plain noodles can be served for providing carbohydrates.
» Post Stomach Flu Diet
As far as the diet post stomach flu is concerned, consuming soft semisolid foods is suggested for the next few days. This gives time for the inflamed stomach, small intestine, and large intestine to recover fully. After this, one can switch on to his/her regular diet, in a gradual manner. A dietitian can best explain good foods to be consumed after getting over the flu problem.
Follow the above recommendations and most probably, the viral infection will resolve very soon. Nevertheless, if the symptoms exacerbated or if there are signs of dehydration, do not delay in getting medical help. Diagnostic tests will be conducted and after confirmation, the doctor may prescribe anticoagulants and antispasmodics for the treatment. In majority of the patients, prompt flu is achieved without further complications.