What to Do (and Not Do) When We Have Gastroenteritis or the “Stomach Flu”

Gastroenteritis is most often caused by a virus. It is usually accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea and may have fevers, chills, and body aches. I am seeing a respiratory virus going around that includes all of these symptoms as well as a cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion.

It is ok if you don’t eat when you are ill for a few days (for most people)! It is NOT ok to NOT drink for a few days. So small sips of water, electrolyte replacements, popsicles, and ice chips are all great ways to get little bits of fluids in while not overwhelming the GI tract. Avoid dairy, fried/fatty/spicy foods, non-food substances like fast food or highly processed foods, and very sugary foods as well. 

For 12 to 24 hours, clear liquids only. Rest the gut. Rest the body. If tolerating the clear liquids ok after 12 to 24 hours, then you can slowly add in BRAT foods, like bananas, plain rice, apples/applesauce, and dry toast or crackers (all gluten-free is preferred). After 12 to 24 hours of that, if tolerating well, then you could increase the diet slowly. Too often I see people have lost a few pounds, haven’t eaten for a few days, and are now starving and jump right into a big ol’ cheeseburger or pizza and then end up right back where they were a few days prior. This is no fun!! We need to ease back into foods gently and cautiously when we are starting to improve.

Warning signs:

  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Decreased urine output
  • No tears/dry mucous membranes
  • Blood in the GI fluids (diarrhea or vomitus)
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Symptoms lasting more than just a few days

These symptoms should be evaluated and may be best suited for the emergency room. If the patient is on medication for diabetes, heart disease seizures, etc., they may need to be seen right away by their primary care provider or at the ER. 

In the video above, I listed DoTerra DigestZen This can be purchased through this link: DoTerra DigestZen

Nux Vomicum by Boiron is a homeopathic remedy that can help as well. This can be found on Fullscript through this link: Fullscript Link