There are few common illnesses as miserable as the stomach flu. Also called gastroenteritis, the stomach flu is a highly contagious viral infection of the stomach and intestines, leading to some intensely uncomfortable symptoms. Although there is no cut-and-dry cure for the stomach flu, the worst symptoms can be managed with a little at-home or prescription care.
Which Symptoms Should I Expect?
The stomach flu touts some of the most aggravating symptoms most people can imagine. The flu lasts a week to ten days at the very most, but when you’re suffering from intestinal distress for that period of time, it may feel like forever. Because the stomach flu is so contagious, it’s vital you are able to recognize the symptoms of this viral infection to prevent spreading it to others. You may have the stomach flu if you’re experiencing:
- Nausea and vomiting
If you notice the development of these symptoms, you should remain home from school or work until they subside.
Easing Symptoms from Home
Because flu sufferers struggle with nausea and vomiting, they may neglect eating or drinking for fear of vomiting it back up. However, from the fever sweats to the diarrhea and vomiting, your body is losing water extremely quickly. The most effective way to prevent your symptoms from worsening is to stay hydrated. Drink clear liquids as often as possible while you’re sick with the flu. Long, slow sips of clear soda, broth, water or caffeine-free sports drinks can help ensure you keep those liquids down. If it becomes impossible to keep anything down, try eating ice chips.
Continue resting throughout the day to improve your chances of getting over your flu more quickly. Take naps whenever you’re tired and allow yourself to go to bed early each night.
Many individuals find that herbal teas reduce the severity of their symptoms, though the science confirming this claim is weak at best. Ginger, lemon, peppermint or chamomile teas are particular favorites among those sick with the flu.
Over-the-Counter Symptom Relief
If staying hydrated and resting aren’t reducing the intensity of the flu symptoms, you may wish to turn to over-the-counter medications.
If you look in your home medicine cabinet, you’ll probably find ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Commonly used for headaches or other soreness, these drugs are great for use during a case of the flu. These types of medication can relieve your fever and aches, but they should be used sparingly as they may upset the stomach and overwork the kidneys.
Anti-nausea medications are also available for those who can’t keep anything down, though many require a prescription. Antidiarrheals, on the other hand, are over-the-counter medicines that can reduce or stop your diarrhea, allowing you to retain liquid.
Primary Medical Care Services in Houston, TX
Gastroenteritis can prove to be a formidable illness without the right medical care team to look after you. When you come down with the stomach flu and can’t seem to conquer your symptoms, the primary care physicians at St. Hope Foundation are always ready to provide nurturing, compassionate care. Contact us online or call 713-778-1300 to schedule your appointment with a primary care physician today!
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