Stomach flu, also called gastric flu, is not caused by influenza, as you might suspect from its name, but rather from an intestinal irritation that can be caused by bacteria, viruses or simply eating the wrong foods at the wrong time. Stomach flu is characterised by a 48- to 72-hour time span of symptoms that include nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Generally, children experience more vomiting than adults. If you have a tender stomach, then you will by nature be more susceptible to stomach flu. Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to keep your sensitive stomach as non-irritated as possible while treating your stomach flu symptoms.
Avoid aspirin. Stomach flu can come with fatigue, headaches and muscle aches. However, if you have a sensitive stomach, aspirin can make it feel worse. Treat your aches and pains with ibuprofen instead.
Drink water or watered-down juice. While many people think that drinking sports drinks will help replenish the fluids they are losing from vomiting or diarrhoea more quickly, in reality sports drinks are more likely to cause stomach irritation and recurrence of vomiting because of their sugar and dye content. Drinking water is the best option for a sensitive stomach, or, if you do not have diarrhoea, then you can drink a half-and-half combination of juice and water.
Make sure that your ginger ale is flat. Ginger ale can settle a stomach, but carbonation can upset a tender intestinal system and make you burp--bad news if you have already been vomiting. Stir your ginger ale with a spoon to make sure that it is flat before you drink it.
Eat dry toast or saltine crackers. If you are vomiting, you should try to wait four hours after the last time you threw up to eat. Just sip water in the interim. However, if you are starving, then nibble on some dry toast. Even a tender stomach should be able to tolerate about half a piece of dry toast to tide you over until you can eat something more substantial.
Stick with bland foods for 96 hours after your symptoms have gone. While most people return to eating their normal diet in about 24 hours, if you have a tender stomach you will be more likely to suffer a relapse. Prevent this by sticking to your toast and crackers diet for about 96 hours, and drink only flat ginger ale, water and diluted juice.
If you cannot keep water down, then you need to see a doctor to ensure that you do not experience complications from severe dehydration.
Tips and warnings
- If you cannot keep water down, then you need to see a doctor to ensure that you do not experience complications from severe dehydration.