What Can You Do for the Stomach Flu?

stomach flu

It’s flu season again, folks, and the stomach flu already seems to be making its rounds. Vomiting, diarrhea, upset stomach, aches, nausea and cramping are not fun to deal with, especially around the holidays. If that’s not bad enough, your kids may experience even worse symptoms because their immune systems aren’t as developed yet. If you or your family have been hit hard with the flu, what can you do to help ease some of the symptoms?

Remedies for Stomach Flu Symptoms

Because the stomach flu (viral gastroenteritis) is caused by a virus, it won’t respond to antibiotics. Unfortunately, there are no quick fixes that can cure the virus. Your only option is to just wait it out and get a lot of rest. But before all hope is lost, there are different things you can do to address the symptoms. Here are a few to start with, but always check with your doctor before trying any over-the-counter medications you’re unfamiliar with

#1. Diarrhea: For adults, there are several over-the-counter antidiarrheal medicines such as Imodium (loperamide hydrochloride) or Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate). Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can make your diarrhea worse.  It’s always recommended that you check in with a pediatrician before giving any antidiarrheal medicines to children. For mild cases of diarrhea, children just need to re-hydrate with plenty of clear fluids and some with electrolytes like Pedialyte.

#2. Upset Stomach and Nausea: Herbal teas such as ginger and peppermint can help calm your stomach and reduce nausea. For bad cases of nausea, talk to your doctor about a zofran (ondansetron) prescription. Avoid greasy or gassy foods that can make your stomach pains and nausea worse. Instead, stick to the BRAT diet.

#3. Aches and Cramping: If you have aches or a fever, you can try taking Advil (ibuprofen), as long as it doesn’t irritate your stomach further. If you don’t have liver disease, you can take Tylenol (Acetaminophen) instead.

It’s not too late to get the flu shot. Read here to understand why the flu shot is encouraged for kids and adults or watch this video.