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Natural Ways to Combat Stomach Flu

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Your body needs fluids to function. Dehydration is the loss of fluids from the body. Important salts or minerals, known as electrolytes, can also be lost with the fluids. Dehydration can be caused by diarrhea, vomiting, excessive urination, excessive sweating, or by not drinking enough fluids because of nausea, difficulty swallowing, or loss of appetite.

In Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis), the combination of diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration. The symptoms of dehydration are:

  • excessive thirst
  • severe weakness or lethargy
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • dry mouth
  • little or no urine or dark yellow urine
  • decreased tears

If you notice any of these symptoms, you should talk to your doctor. Mild dehydration can be treated by drinking liquids. Severe dehydration may require intravenous fluids and hospitalization. Untreated severe dehydration can be life threatening.

Children present special concerns. Because of their smaller body size, infants and children are at greater risk of dehydration from diarrhea and vomiting. Oral rehydration solutions such as Pedialyte can replace lost fluids, minerals, and salts. Elderly are also at risk since dehydration can impact their blood pressure and put their health at risk.

The following steps may help relieve the symptoms of Stomach Flu (Viral Gastroenteritis).

  • Allow your gastrointestinal tract to settle by not eating for a few hours.

  • Sip small amounts of clear liquids or suck on ice chips if vomiting is still a problem.   

  • Consume at least 72 ounces of water to avoid defhydration.

  • Consider rehydration solutions to replace fluids and lost electrolytes.

  • Limit your diet to rest the gastrointentestinal tract and speed healing.

  • Drink chicken or vegetable broth, and eat baked apples and/or pears. Pectin in these fruits soothe the stomach and helps stop diarrhea.  

  • Drink non-caffeinated chamomile tea (helps with rest), pepperment, ginger, black or green teas which have anti-nausea and anti vomiting properties. Make strong teas (2 bags seeped, with 12 ounces of water and drink 3 to 6 cups per day on an empty stomach until symptoms subside.  

  • Gradually reintroduce food, starting with bland, easy-to-digest food, like toast, broth, apples, bananas, and rice.   

  • Avoid dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete.   

  • Use a mustard poultice that will relieve nausea and vomiting. A mustard poultice  works mainly by increasing circulation, perspiration and heat in the afflicted area.  The person receiving the treatment should sit or lie down comfortably. The best poultices are made from black mustard seeds ground fresh in a coffee grinder, but ordinary yellow mustard powder will do in a pinch. To prepare a mustard poultice, mix 1/2 cup mustard powder with one cup flour and stir hot water into the mix to form a paste. Spread the mixture on a piece of cotton or muslin has been soaked in hot water. Cover with a second piece of dry material. Lay the moist side of the poultice across the affected area, cover the material with a hot water bottle or heating pad, and leave the poultice on for 15 to 30 minutes; promptly remove it if the person experiences any discomfort. The procedure is likely to promote perspiration and reddening of the area. Give the individual plenty of liquids during the procedure. Apply 2x a day. Take a warm or cool shower afterward, then rest. Do not administer this treatment to a young child, elderly person or the seriously ill without consulting a health care professional.  

  • Take an herbal tincture. Clinical trials confirm that herbs such as oregon grape root and geranium have antimicrobial properties, while slippery elm and licorice reduce inflammation. and promote tissue growth in the intestine. Make a mixture of equal parts of these tinctures. Take 60 drops of the combined tinctures in 2 ounces of water on an empty stomach four times a day for up to five days.   

  • Try Probiotics. Bifdobacterium bifidum and lactobacillus acidophilus replenish the "good" bacteria in the bowels. This will make your system stronger and reduce your likelihood of reinfection.  Antibiotics persribed by conventional medicine can destroy both good and bad bacteria, and unless the friendly bacteria are replaced you will be more prone for reinfections; a vicious cycle that will prevent you from being 100%. Take 10 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) each in four divided doses daily for the duration of the illness and for three weeks after the symptoms have resolved.   

  • Get plenty of rest.

Last modified on Thursday, 03 December 2009 16:35
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