From managing an illness, to maintaining health, nutrition can help children and adults bounce back and recover.
What You Can Do Now to Help Prevent the Flu Later
Last flu season in the U.S., there were as many as 49 million estimated cases of influenza, causing around 940,000 hospitalizations and nearly 80,000 deaths. Those numbers might sound daunting, but there are steps you can take to help prevent the flu. To get ready for flu season, we spoke with two Abbott experts to answer the most frequently asked questions. Jennifer Williams, MPH, a nutrition research scientist specializing in hydration and Dr. Norman Moore, Ph.D., director of scientific affairs and infectious disease, discuss how to prevent stomach flu and influenza (flu), and how to recognize and treat it in the instances when you can't.
What to Eat and Drink During and After the Stomach Flu
While people often refer to symptoms like nausea, cramping, vomiting and diarrhea as the stomach flu or a stomach bug, the official term is gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the stomach and intestines, often caused by different viruses. When the stomach flu strikes, food might be the last thing on your mind. But choosing the right foods and fluids can settle a queasy tummy and help speed your recovery. Expert and Abbott research scientist Jennifer Williams, MPH, answers your questions about what to eat when you have the stomach flu.
How Hydration Can Help with Getting Over the Flu
When it comes to influenza or more commonly called the "flu," you're probably all set with throat lozenges and your favorite blanket — but what about hydration? Whether it's you or your children tackling the flu this winter, Abbott research scientist Jennifer Williams, MPH explains that hydration is an important part of recovery. Williams specializes in pediatric nutrition and says that learning how to stay hydrated during illness can not only help ease the symptoms of the flu but can also help get you on the road to recovery. That's true of both influenza and the stomach flu, which, despite its name, actually has nothing to do with the flu. The "stomach flu," aka gastroenteritis, actually refers to an inflammation in the gastrointestinal or GI tract and is typically caused by viruses or bacteria. The most common cause is norovirus, which spreads through contaminated water, food and unwashed hands. "The influenza can come with sky-high fevers that drain the water in your body and cause you to sweat out the rest," explains Abbott director of scientific affairs and infectious disease, Norman Moore, PhD, "And, nausea during the stomach flu can make it difficult to consume food or drink, in addition to vomiting and diarrhea that can drain your body of vital fluid and electrolytes." If you experience the onset of influenza-like symptoms, visit your doctor to be tested and treated right away to help lessen the severity and duration of your illness.
7 Tips For Managing Stomach Flu Symptoms
Every flu season you probably stock up on tissues and cough medicine, but how prepared are you for the stomach flu? Even though the respiratory flu and the stomach flu share the same season, they are very different illnesses. "Stomach flu symptoms really come down to digestive issues such as cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea," says Jennifer Williams, M.P.H., a research scientist at Abbott. While the stomach flu can strike at any time of year, 80 percent of cases will hit from November through April in the U.S. And, just like the respiratory flu, it's especially contagious. This 7-step plan can help manage stomach flu symptoms and keep your family safe.