4. Starve a Cold, Feed a Stomach Virus?
Surprising as it may sound, it's actually okay for someone with the stomach flu to eat as long as they aren't vomiting. In fact, food can supply additional fluids and electrolytes to speed rehydration. Test the waters by starting with clear, broth-based soups. If those go down easily, you can offer small servings of bland foods such as white rice, crackers and toast. As with beverages, you'll want to steer clear of anything sugary such as candy, cookies or ice cream and any high-fat foods.
5. Know When to Call the Doctor
A virus causes the stomach flu, so there's no medication that can cure it. However, there are complications that may require medical attention, especially in young children, so be sure to call your doctor in the case of stomach flu symptoms such as:
- Diarrhea lasting for more than 24 hours
- Signs of dehydration
- A high fever
- Severe abdominal pain
- Bloody stools or vomit
6. Stock up for Emergencies
When late night tummy troubles hit, the last thing you want to do is run to the store. Stocking your pantry and medicine cabinet with a few bottles or powder packs of an oral rehydration solution such as Pedialyte®, a thermometer, a few cans of broth-based soups, and a fever reducer can make life a whole lot easier next time the stomach bug makes an appearance in your house.
7. Think Prevention
It's impossible to avoid the stomach flu completely, but there are steps that you and your family can take to prevent it. Since the stomach flu is frequently spread by hand-to-hand contact or by touching contaminated surfaces, regular hand washing with plenty of warm soapy water is key. Can't get to a sink? Stashing a bottle of hand sanitizer in your bag or car can be helpful in a pinch. Also, keep in mind that this virus is often spread via contaminated food. Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating or preparing them. And if you're caring for someone with the stomach flu, you'll want to protect other family members from becoming ill by thoroughly laundering any soiled clothing, sheets or towels and disinfecting any contaminated surfaces such as doorknobs, phones and toys.