Oh no, you’re sick! You find yourself having to run to the bathroom, again, and again. Everything you ate is coming out of you one way or another. You curse the stomach flu as your nausea gets worse and you start to feel tired and drained. You want nothing more than this evil illness to release you from its clutches. Don’t worry, the Toronto Fitchicks have you covered!
Fun Fact: There is no such thing as the stomach flu. What we commonly refer to as the stomach flu is actually gastroenteritis, a viral infection of the stomach and intestines.
Common Symptoms Include
- Watery Diarrhea
- Nausea and/or Vomiting
- Abdominal Cramps and Pain
- Low-Grade Fever
- Muscle Cramps
If you’re suffering from gastroenteritis, it’s an illness caused by a virus and not a bacteria so antibiotics won’t alleviate your symptoms.
The best medicine is getting plenty of rest, keeping well hydrated, and eating the tummy friendly BRAT diet until your symptoms improve. Easier said than done if gastroenteritis strikes when you’re home alone with your baby or toddler… As described in my Mother’s Day post, it wasn’t a pleasant experience but I lived to tell the tale!
BRAT is an acronym that stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples, and Toast. I’ll talk about when to introduce these foods but for the first few hours (after vomiting) it’s best if you give your stomach a rest.
The First Six Hours
Before progressing to solid food, try sucking on ice-chips or a popsicle (avoid chewing). Electrolyte Freezer Pops are a great option at this stage; they promote fluid absorption and replenish electrolytes.
The next step is reintroducing fluids a few sips at a time. Start with water, and then you can move on to apple juice, flat soda, coconut water, or non-caffeinated tea.
Can I have a Coffee? Just one?
You may be feeling really drained and tired.. You may be tempted to cheat and have a coffee. I urge you to resist! I promise it’ll only make your symptoms worse. Once you get rehydrated your fatigue will likely start to improve.
Try the following yummy alternatives instead..
Fluid Recipes for Day One
Your new best-friend, Ginger Tea helps with nausea!
Boil a Tbsp of peeled Ginger Root in 3 cups of water for 20 mins. Ginger tea can be enjoyed warm or over ice.
Mommy’s Magic Soup
My mom’s secret recipe for stomach flu sufferers is easy to make and generations swear by its efficacy!
Boil 4 Skin on/Bone in Chicken Legs or Thighs in 8 Cups of Water and 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil for 30 mins. Reduce to medium-low heat, add 1 tsp of Salt, and cook for 1 hour. Remove Chicken (you’re not ready for that meat yet!) and add fresh Lemon Juice to your cup or bowl of magic soup.
Bored of sipping on plain water? Infused Water is another approved option that will help you keep up with your hydration. Try the “Lemon, Ginger” or “Watermelon, Cucumber, Lemon” recipe.
Yay, it’s time to move on to the BRAT diet which will help build firmer stools and reduce nausea while still being easy on the stomach.
Bananas, Rice, Apple Sauce, and Dry Toast are all great foods to try on Day Two. If you’re keeping them down okay here are additional foods you can try.
- Oatmeal (with no added dairy)
- Sweet Potatoes (boiled or steamed with no added fat)
- Potatoes (boiled or steamed with no added fat)
- Magic Soup (this time you can add some shredded chicken to your bowl or cook mini noodles or rice in your broth before enjoying it!)
If symptoms persist, continue with the recommended foods from Day Two. Otherwise if you’re feeling better you can return to a regular diet *but try to avoid the foods listed below* as they may further irritate your stomach.
Foods To Avoid
- Dairy Products are hard to digest during an illness and can make diarrhea worse
- Alcohol and Caffeine are diuretics that can cause dehydration
- Spicy Foods can irritate the stomach
- Artificial Sweeteners can make diarrhea worse
- Foods High in Refined Sugar can make nausea worse
- Foods High in Fat & Fried Foods are difficult to digest
- Vegetables and Beans that can cause intestinal gas and bloating (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, onions, garlic, beans)
- Blueberries, Pineapple, Oranges, Grapefruit, Cherries and Tomatoes (are higher in acidity and can contribute to heart-burn and nausea)
- Heavy Proteins high in fat are difficult to digest (Steak, Salmon, Pork)
Other Strategies to Feel Better
- Have a Refreshing Shower
- Relax with a Guided Meditation
- Put on some Soothing Music as you Rest
- Go for a Short Walk. Fresh Air does wonders!
- Continue to Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!
You should see a Physician if your symptoms are not improving over the course of two days or if you’re experiencing any signs of severe dehydration. Take a look at this WebMD article for signs to look out for in children and adults that warrant medical attention.
Get Well Soon!!!