Oh, the dreaded stomach flu. Once it hits your household it spreads so quickly you can barely keep up with the laundry. This is one bug that hits hard and fast. Here are some suggestions for preventing it and for treating it.
What is it?
It may be norovirus or rotavirus but it is very contagious. Although often called the stomach flu, it isn’t among the strains contained in the flu shot. Gastroenteritis is the technical term for it. It is an inflammation of the GI tract usually from a virus which is why antibiotics don’t help and can potentially cause it to worsen since antibiotics kill off good bacteria in the gut.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. You can also have muscle aches and stiffness, fatigue and headache which is usually due to the dehydration that comes with losing so much water and minerals.
How to prevent it
The best prevention is to not encounter it. Since it can be picked up on surfaces that are commonly touched, hand washing is key. If you are diligent in washing your hands, especially before touching your face, nose, eyes, and mouth you will have a better chance at not contracting it. Grapefruit extract is a great antimicrobial for the GI system and taking one to two capsules a day can also decrease your chances of getting the stomach flu.
How to manage symptoms
If contracted, it is most important to stay hydrated. Taking in electrolyte drinks or water and sea salt will help prevent the body aches and headache that can occur. An Epsom salt bath can help soothe, detox and replenish magnesium. The loss of fluids can also make you lightheaded, so stay in bed and rest. Taking activated charcoal every few hours can also help but make sure that you open the capsules and pour the black powder into a small glass of water. When you have the stomach flu you can’t always break down the capsule the charcoal comes in. Activated charcoal adsorbs (yes, that is spelled correctly) toxins in the gut. Getting the microbes out is what allows for the stomach flu to be so short in duration. Your body is brilliant and will purge the foreign bug as quickly and efficiently as possible, usually within 1-2 days. That is why enemas can also be helpful. Enemas can help flush out the microbes from the GI tract.
Make sure to clean linens, clothing, and surfaces of the house thoroughly once the bug passes. You may still be contagious for up to three days after symptoms pass, so stay diligent.