Gastroenteritis is more commonly known as the stomach flu and a very common type of sickness among both children and adults. Over 20 million people in the U.S. suffer from it each year, usually due to a contagious virus that is spread from one person to another.
Although you are probably already familiar with how terrible the stomach flu feels, this article dives deeper into what causes it and how you can treat and prevent it naturally.
Symptoms of Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis comes with very uncomfortable symptoms, but the good news is that they are typically very short-lived symptoms that don’t last for more than a day or two. When you have the stomach flu, vomiting and diarrhea are very common. But you will also likely experience abdominal cramping, a fever, bloating, loss of appetite, body aches, and fatigue. It is also possible to have blood or pus in your stools when you are sick with the stomach flu. The symptoms often come on at night because of the body’s circadian rhythm and immune system activity.
Causes of Gastroenteritis
Viruses are the most common causes of gastroenteritis, especially noroviruses and rotavirus. Sharing utensils and eating contaminated food can cause gastroenteritis. In rarer cases, it could also be caused by bacteria, parasites, lead poisoning, or antibiotic medications. Certain places make it more likely that you get stomach flu, such as children’s daycares, student dormitories, cruise ships, and nursing homes. This is because these areas have shared living and dining spaces, and gastroenteritis easily spreads with shared contact.
For some people, stomach flu feels fairly minor with symptoms that pass quickly. But for other people, such as young children, older adults, and people who are immune-compromised, the symptoms can quickly escalate due to dehydration after the vomiting and diarrhea. Dark-colored urine, extreme thirst, dizziness, and overall weakness are signs of dehydration.
Natural Treatments for Stomach Flu
The best treatments for stomach flu are natural treatments that get you rested and hydrated as much as possible. Gastroenteritis depletes the body of fluids, so it is best to drink small sips of water, sports drinks with electrolytes, juice, or broth – really whatever you can keep down without it coming back up.
Bland crackers and ginger ale may help to settle your stomach, but avoid dairy products because they can make symptoms worse. Taking Seagate’s Olive Leaf Plus daily for maximum immune support can also help your body put up its best fight against resistant strains of microorganisms when they strike.
Since most cases of stomach flu are caused by viruses, antibiotics will not help to cure you unless a bacterial infection is to blame. Anti-diarrhea and anti-vomiting medications can actually make you sicker because they keep the infection in your body instead of allowing it to release naturally. In very severe cases of gastroenteritis, intravenous fluid replacement could be necessary.
Tips for Preventing Stomach Flu
Pretty much everyone gets the stomach flu every once in a while, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself as much as possible. Washing your hands with soap and water is a great first line of defense, as well as using hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
Stay away from people who are sick as much as possible, and disinfect surfaces that have been touched by someone with stomach flu. Avoid sharing utensils and towels with people, even those in your own household and even when you feel healthy. If vomiting or diarrhea lasts for more than two days, if you aren’t able to keep liquids down for more than a day, or if you have a fever above 104 degrees (or over 102 for children), it’s probably time to call your healthcare provider for advice.