How to Restart Food After a Stomach Bug

Written by jaimie zinski
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A stomach bug, which is also known as viral gastroenteritis, will generally last for 24 to 72 hours. During this time, typical symptoms include nausea, vomiting, watery stools, stomach cramps and occasionally, fever. The consumption of food or liquids during and after the illness must be done with care, as eating the wrong types of foods too quickly will aggravate the stomach, resulting in a worsening of symptoms.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Clear liquids
  • Bland foods

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  1. 1

    Consume clear liquids, such as water, carbonated soda, herbal tea, sports drinks, rehydrating fluids, such as Pedialyte or chicken broth. Drink these liquids in small sips instead of gulping or chugging them, as this will make nausea worse. Continue to drink these liquids in small amounts every few minutes, or as often as your body will tolerate it.

  2. 2

    Wait for at least 24 to 36 hours after the nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea have ceased before beginning to reintroduce foods, according to the University of Wisconsin. These foods include dry toast, apple sauce, boiled potatoes, soda crackers and yoghurt. Avoid dairy foods that are not cultured, such as milk and cheese, as these will make your stomach feel worse.

  3. 3

    Reintroduce your normal diet after consuming bland food for 24 to 48 hours. Avoid eating dairy, consuming alcohol, eating spicy foods or consuming greasy treats during the first two to three days after you begin eating more normally.

  4. 4

    Watch what you eat for the 10 days following the cessation of any symptoms. It can take this long for your body to recover from the illness, and for your bowel movements to get back to normal. If any foods begin to bother your stomach, avoid them for a few days before attempting to enter them back into your diet.

Tips and warnings

  • Consult your doctor immediately if you do not urinate for an eight hour period, have a fever or 38.3 degrees Celsius that does not come down with the use of medication, blood in the stool or vomit or stomach pains that do not feel better after you vomit or defecate.

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