Treatment of Stomach Flu

By Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Table of Contents


According to the CDC, stomach flu is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis worldwide. Roughly 685 million people, including children, have stomach flu infections at some point in their lives, but only about half of those people develop symptoms.

Stomach flu is not the same as the common flu. It is viral gastroenteritis and doesn’t have respiratory symptoms. The influenza virus causes the flu, while the Norovirus causes stomach flu.

If you’re not sure what’s going on or if you haven’t had any symptoms at all, you may still be contagious and could infect others.

If you’re feeling under the weather, don’t worry! We’ve got your back. Here I will explain what stomach flu is and how to treat it.

Stomach Flu: Definition

The stomach flu is a gastrointestinal illness. It is also called gastroenteritis. This illness can be caused by a virus; norovirus, rotavirus, astrovirus, or adenovirus.

Symptoms of the stomach flu include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea (sometimes with blood), fever, and abdominal cramps. The symptoms start within 24 hours of getting sick and last for about 3–4 days.

Stomach flu is a common illness that can be transmitted through contaminated food or water.

The flu can be spread by touching or kissing someone who has it; sharing cups; eating food or drinks contaminated with infected droplets from others; and touching surfaces that have been contaminated with infected droplets from others, such as door knobs or toilet handles (especially in public restrooms).

Stomach Flu Symptoms

  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Diarrhea Or Constipation
  • Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache) With Bloating
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Headaches Or Muscle Aches
  • Chills

Causes of Gastroenteritis

It might be challenging to distinguish stomach flu from other types of gastroenteritis once you have it. Every other gastroenteritis infection behaves and manifests similarly to stomach flu.

A virus is the cause of stomach flu. But there are other causes of gastroenteritis too.

  • Bacterial
  • Parasitic
  • Autoimmune
  • Allergic
  • Food poisoning

Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis is a common condition caused by a virus. It is characterized by stomach pain, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.

The condition can be mild or severe and can last anywhere from 2-3 days to 3–4 weeks.

Several viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis, including norovirus, rotavirus, adenovirus, astrovirus, enterovirus, and sapovirus.

Viruses spread as a result of improper hand hygiene. The infected person’s hands may be contaminated with his stools and urine. When he shakes hands, touches door knobs, or shares food, the infection can spread to others.

Norovirus: There is a peak of incidence from November to April.

Rotavirus: During the winter and spring months, rotaviral gastroenteritis appears commonly among schoolchildren.

Bacterial Gastroenteritis

Bacterial gastroenteritis is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines.

The symptoms of bacterial gastroenteritis include nausea, vomiting, fever, cramps, and diarrhea. Bacterial gastroenteritis is usually caused by food or water that has been contaminated with bacteria.

Bacterial gastroenteritis can be prevented by cooking food thoroughly, washing hands regularly and thoroughly, not drinking water from contaminated sources such as lakes or streams, and staying away from sick people.

  • Escherichia coli

This E. coli causes watery diarrhea.

  • Salmonella

Salmonella causes blood and mucus diarrhea.

  • Campylobacter

Campylobacter infection can spread through undercooked meats and ill-treated water. This infection will cause blood and mucus diarrhea.

Parasitic Gastroenteritis

Parasitic gastroenteritis is not a new disease, but it has been on the rise in recent years.

This is partly because we have better diagnostic tools, but also because more people have weakened immune systems due to other conditions like AIDS or diabetes.

Parasitic gastroenteritis is an infection of the digestive tract caused by parasites. It can be caused by a variety of different parasites, but the most common ones are Giardia and Cryptosporidium.

Autoimmune Gastroenteritis

Autoimmune means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its tissues.

Autoimmune diseases are caused by a problem with the body’s natural defenses, which are supposed to protect it from infection and disease.

Chron’s disease and Ulcerative colitis diseases are common chronic causes of gastroenteritis.

Food Poisoning/Allergic Gastroenteritis

Food poisoning Gastroileal gastroenteritis is a condition that is caused by eating food contaminated with toxins from certain bacteria. It is usually characterized by nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Sometimes it may lead to shock and cardiac arrest in certain people.

Treatment of Stomach Flu

Home Remedies

Taking care of your stomach is important when you’re sick.

Here are some tips to prevent suffering from the stomach flu:

  • Avoid alcohol and other things that can make you sick (like raw or undercooked meat or dairy products).
  • Eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, but don’t eat too much of them at once.

Try to stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids (such as water), especially if you feel like you might be getting dehydrated.

Drug Treatment

The best treatment for diarrhea is oral rehydration solutions, which will keep you energized in the first few days until diarrhea settles.

The body’s immune system will help to heal the bowels from a virus infection, and antibiotics are ineffective.

You can also try eating more probiotic foods, like kefir or yogurt, which contain healthy bacteria that can help eliminate viral colonization.

Food high in vitamin C (citrus fruits) will increase antioxidant levels in the bowel and will reduce inflammation.

Antinausea medicines (metoclopramide, ondansetron) and antidiarrheal medicine (loperamide) will help to ease severe symptoms.


REST is key. Try not to do anything other than sleep, shower, and brush your teeth for at least the first 48 hours after becoming ill.

This will help you avoid dehydration and other complications.

If possible, take a warm bath every day for 30 minutes, as well as drink extra water throughout the day (try 1/2 cup every hour).

Meal Restrictions in the Stomach Flu

The best thing you can do for your stomach flu is rest and drink plenty of water. If you need to eat, try to eat bland foods that are easy on the stomach.

You’ve probably heard that the best way to treat your stomach flu is with rest and bland food. But what exactly does this mean?

  • Bland food can be hard to come by when you have stomach flu, so it’s important to stock up on hydration and electrolytes (like Gatorade) in case you need them.

If you’re feeling nauseous or have diarrhea, keep in mind that some foods might make it worse.

So don’t try coffee or spicy foods!

  • Dairy products, meat, and eggs will make your diarrhea worse.

You should also avoid drinking alcohol during this time because it can make vomiting worse.

  •  Fatty foods and sugary foods too can make diarrhea worse.

In addition, don’t eat any raw fruits or vegetables while you’re sick because they can make your symptoms worse.

The physicians recommend eating BRAT food during stomach flu.

  • B-banana
  • R-Rice
  • A-Apple
  • T-Toast

Bonus Tips for Quicker Recovery from Stomach Flu!

  • Eat fruit or crackers with a little honey.
  • You can also add mint leaves (in tea).
  • Eat ginger root (in rice)
  • Add lemon peels (in water).
  • Try taking zinc supplements (these will hasten the healing of bowel fasts).
  • Suck Ice Chips (This will reduce nausea.)

How Can You Avoid Getting the Stomach Flu?

It is important to know that though your symptoms have subsided within 24 hours, the viruses can be shedding in your stools for much longer.

  • Stay hydrated! Drink at least 4 to 6 liters of water or other beverages daily to keep hydrated. Electrolytes help your body fight off the virus, so make sure you’re getting enough of those.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom (and before you eat or touch things that others have touched).
  • Don’t share your meals with others. Within 24 hours of the onset of the illness, get rid of anything that might be contaminated by others.
  • Try to keep your distance at least 3 feet from infected people.
  • Don’t visit sick family members or friends at home or their work unless they are feeling better and can tell you so themselves.
  • Avoid touching it at all costs, because this can spread germs quickly! Don’t touch your face, nose, or mouth unless This includes kissing on the cheek or forehead.

The rotavirus vaccine is available to boost your immunity and it is recommended for children under 5 years of age.

If these don’t work fast enough for you, seek medical attention immediately!

When to Visit the Doctor

Do not hesitate to meet a medical practitioner if you have the below symptoms.

  • High fever
  • Severe muscle aches
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • severe diarrhea (more than 10 times)
  • Elders and children are at risk of low blood pressure, so you might need to bring them to a doctor.

TeleHealthDoc articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

Dr. Pallavi Sharma

Dr. Pallavi Sharma is one of Melbourne’s best, well respected cosmetic doctors and aims to provide longstanding anti-aging benefits for her clients. With over 11 years experience in Performing cosmetic procedures, Dr. Sharma has lectured medical professionals regarding cosmetic treatments and is heavily involved in providing up to date cosmetic treatments to her clients and friends.
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