February 12, 2013 STAFF/STU

“Stomach Flu” season

Viral Gastroenteritis, better known as the stomach flu, is prevalent this time of year. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and may be accompanied with headache, fever, and abdominal cramps. Handwashing is the best prevention.

General information

  • Gastroenteritis (gas-tro-in-ter-I-tis) is a common virus that affects the stomach and bowel. It is often called the “stomach flu.”
  • Treatment includes resting your stomach and bowel. Wait at least one hour after vomiting to eat or drink anything.
  • You will also need to rest and take medicine (eg. Tylenol every 4 hours) if you have a fever or muscle aches. Most people with gastroenteritis feel better in 24 hours.

How can I take care of myself?

  • Rest in bed until you begin to feel better.
  • No food or drink for at least one hour after vomiting.
  • Drink small amounts of fluids frequently to keep yourself from becoming dehydrated (avoid caffeinated and alcoholic beverages), suck on ice chips or take small sips of clear liquids very often. Good choices are ginger ale or sports drinks that do not have caffeine in them. Avoid prune, apple, and grape juice since these can make your diarrhea worse.
  • Avoid milk and other dairy products for the first two or three days.
  • Once diarrhea or vomiting has stopped, you may begin to eat soft, bland foods. Examples are crackers, bananas, rice, cooked cereals, noodles, clear soup, toast, boiled potatoes, sweetened gelatin, or applesauce. You may eat regular foods after two or three days.
  • While you are sick, stay away from others. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using the toilet and before you touch food.
  • Do not share cups, towels or eating utensils with others, when ill.
  • If not better (persistent fever, vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain) seek medical help.