What you need to know about the stomach flu

treating the stomach flu

If there is one thing worse than having the stomach flu- it is being a Mom with the stomach flu.

As if it wasn’t bad enough being sick, running to the bathroom, and feeling soooooo weak- you still have to take care of your kids. And let’s be honest- they probably started this virus running through your house in the first place. You may feel powerless against the stomach flu- but knowledge is power so let’s get familiar with this bug that is invading your life and determine what you can do about it.

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What is the stomach flu anyway?

Acute Gastroenteritis (aka the stomas flu, GI flu, stomach bug- often caused by norovirus or rotovirus) is a very contagious virus that attacks the GI system. According to the CDC, it spreads through contact with infected surfaces, foods, or people. INFECTED INDIVIDUALS ARE STILL CONTAGIOUS FOR AT LEAST TWO DAYS AFTER THE SYMPTOMS STOP.

ALWAYS consult your physician for medical advice. I am sharing my experience only. You should seek medical advice if you have the flu or if you have any questions about your health.

What can you about it?

  • Avoidance! Whenever possible, avoid people who have been infected for at least two days after they are symptom free.
  • Daily probiotics found in yogurt or a probiotic supplements help to balance the good and bad bacteria in your intestines. Probiotics can be used preventatively and/or as a treatment if you do get the virus.  (always consult your doctor before trying any new supplement)
  • Old wives tales” (or are they)? :
    • I have seen the grape juice “trick” on social media so many times that I decided to look into it. Turns out, the theory is that things like grape juice and apple cider vinegar keep the intestines in an alkaline state which make it difficult to the virus to live. This method is said to work best before symptoms start. I drank three cups of Welch’s 100% Grape Juice every day and took a few doses (2 teaspoons each) of Apple Cider Vinegar throughout the day when the flu was making its way through my family.
    • Activated charcoal– Typically used to absorb toxins, activated charcoal is an old remedy for the stomach flu. I was intrigued by the concept that it could also attach to the bugs that cause the stomach virus so I called my pharmacist. He told me that this was a very old remedy and wasn’t used much anymore but it was, in fact, an effective treatment. I used Charco Caps (brand) and took two just as symptoms started. Using this combined with the grape juice and apple cider vinegar regimen, I never got full-blown sick. (Activated charcoal can have interactions with other medicines. Always contact your medical professional for advice.)

 Stomach flu prevention

Wash, wash, wash your hands…

I’m not going to remind you that hand washing is the very best way to prevent the stomach flu and many other illnesses. You have heard it a million times and you already carry hand sanitizer on your purse. Instead, I’m going to suggest ways to get your children to wash their hands.

    • Sing a song while washing. Sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, the alphabet song, or Happy Birthday while washing and don’t stop until the song is done. This will ensure the full 20 seconds of washing as recommended by the CDC.
    • Singing soap– there are soap dispensers that plays a tune when the soap dispenses and continues to play for 20 seconds. This reminds kids to keep scrubbing for the duration of the song and therefore hitting the 20-second germ killing mark.
    • To help them reach the water spout easily, use a spout extender:

  • Pick a soap with their favorite characters or let them decorate a disposable soap dispenser with stickers , ribbons, adding LEGOs- any of their favorites- to peak their interest and get them invested in washing.

Now you know what it is, how to prevent it, and how you could treat it…

We all dread getting this flu so anything we can do to avoid it or make it go away faster is worth a try! I also love this special tea daily for boosting immunity or even fighting off colds. SO- wash your hands, avoid anyone who has been sick, and call your doctor with any medial questions!

Helpful sites to get reliable information:

Centers for Disease Control- About Norovirus

American Academy of Pediatrics- healthychildren.org: Surviving the Stomach Bug: Truths & Tips for Parents

Always contact a medical professional for advice. 


What’s your favorite home-remedy for the flu? Leave a comment and tell us what your grandma used to do for you when you were sick 😉

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