While a stomach virus may take away your appetite, you will still need to eat and drink healthy food to help lower the chances of worsening symptoms. But don’t just consume any food you can get your hands on. You will need to follow a strict procedure to help manage your condition:10
1. Stop eating for a few hours — Allow your stomach to settle so you can begin to prepare yourself consuming food and water again.
2. Slowly begin drinking fluids — Once you feel better, drink small sips of water over the course of a few hours. Not drinking enough fluids can lead to dehydration, which can make you feel worse in the long run. However, don’t drink too much water at once, as it can exacerbate nausea and vomiting.
3. Note your urination — Ideally, your urine should be light and clear. This signifies that you are properly hydrated. Dark-colored urine means that you’re lacking fluids. Continue drinking water until you achieve the ideal color.
4. Eat bland foods first — Foods that are bland and easy to digest such as bananas and chicken can help replenish lost nutrients caused by diarrhea.
Bananas are generally recommended during a bout of stomach flu because the fiber can help increase the bulk in stool, but apples are also a viable alternative.11 As your health begins to improve, other healthy foods that you can slowly ease yourself into other foods such as eggs, fresh fruits (in moderation) and vegetables.12
If your stomach can tolerate it, drinking ginger tea may help with your symptoms. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help ease nausea, vomiting and pain in your stomach. To make the tea:
1. Place one fresh ginger root in 1 cup of water.
2. Boil the water for five minutes then steep for 10 minutes.
3. Strain the tea after boiling, then drink. Repeat for two to three times a day.
While certain foods can help you replenish your health while you recover, there are foods you should be avoiding as well. In particular, you should stay away from processed foods and drinks, including fruit juices, as well as fried foods. These can irritate your digestive system further. The table below expounds more on which foods and beverages you avoid:14,15
- Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt
- Spicy foods
- Caffeinated drinks such as coffee
- Carbonated and/or sugary drinks
- Canned or packaged soups
- Foods that have spices
- Alcoholic drinks
How to Get Rid of a Stomach Virus: Manage Your Symptoms Properly
As with other viral infections, there is no definite and immediate cure for the stomach flu. Instead, your body will have to fight off the disease slowly. The appropriate course of action is to manage your symptoms by making sure you eat healthy foods and drink plenty of fluids, which will help lower your risk of developing complications, such as dehydration.16 Remember to get lots of rest and high-quality sleep, too, as this will help your body fight off the virus.
Prevent the Stomach Flu From Happening in the First Place
Stomach flu is one of the most common causes of hospitalization in America. If not treated right away, it may even be fatal. Since there is no cure for this condition, prevention is more appropriate to help lower the risk of spreading disease among family members. Here are some effective tips that you should regularly follow:17,18
• Wash hands with warm water and triclosan-free soap before preparing food
• Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption
• Clean the area where food is prepared, such as the kitchen countertop, regularly
• Avoid sharing utensils and use separate towels in the bathroom