5 Ways to Treat Viral Gastroenteritis

Viral gastroenteritis is the medical term used for “Stomach Flu”. It leaves you miserable whenever it occurs, and it is important to understand what this disease is and how to get rid of it. When there is an inflammation inside the stomach and intestines, the problem of viral gastroenteritis occurs, as stated by This ailment is relatively common and usually lasts a few days. However, fluid intake should be kept in check as viral gastroenteritis can cause dehydration due to consistent diarrhea and vomiting.

What is the Root cause?

There exist multiple viruses causing viral gastroenteritis. Following is a description of several viruses due to which this disease develops;

1. The Norovirus:

A highly contagious virus known as Norovirus can cause viral gastroenteritis. It can attack people of all ages. This deadly virus can spread through contaminated food, water, other surfaces, or people already having this virus. The common symptoms showing that the patient has contracted Norovirus include body aches, nausea, diarrhea, and fever.

2. Adenovirus:

Another lethal virus called Adenovirus can lead to stomach flu. It can spread through the air, sneezing, coughing, or touching. The common symptoms indicating contraction of this virus are developing pink eye, sore throat, fever, persistent coughing, or running nose. Children aged six months to 2 years are at a higher risk of contracting Adenovirus.

3. Astrovirus:

Another virus that attacks children is known as Astrovirus. Common indications for this include diarrhea, headache, stomach pain, and mild dehydration. In winter, this virus is more active. Children may recover in two to three days after exposure to such a virus.

4. Rotavirus:

Lastly, another virus causing viral gastroenteritis is rotavirus. Just like astrovirus, children and infants are vulnerable to rotavirus as well. Nonetheless, its transmission is only limited to the mouth. Loss of appetite, watery diarrhea, and vomiting are a few symptoms associated with Rotavirus.

How to Treat Stomach Flu:

Let us now discuss some practices that are extremely helpful while treating this ailment. Following is a list of descriptions and reasons as to why our recommendations are on point.

1.  Fluid intake:

You must have noticed a common symptom in the paragraphs mentioned above, no matter which type of virus causing stomach flu, that is “diarrhea”. As a lot of our essential body fluids are wasted, it is advisable to maximize your fluid intake. For example, you can take over-the-counter available Pedialyte, water or broth, the electrolytes containing sports drinks, or juices. Additionally, you can also use certain tea like ginger and peppermint, and others like honey ginger.

What drinks to avoid:

It is equally important to understand certain fluids can worsen our existing deplorable condition. Hence, these drinks must be avoided to help swift recovery. A patient must avoid drinks like alcohol, soft drinks, chocolate drinks, black coffee, cappuccino, latte, and other beverages containing caffeine. Another vital aspect is taking adequate rest while suffering from stomach flu, as many people ignore it. The reason behind the avoidance of these drinks is suggested lies in the fact that caffeine causes sleep deprivation and alcohol is a diuretic, and is known to be the main cause of many serious medical conditions, all listed here.

2.  The ‘BRAT’ Diet:

While suffering from viral gastroenteritis, it is challenging to eat almost anything. Even the thought of eating makes a person cringe. Therefore, we suggest the BRAT diet. Do you know what ‘BRAT’ means? It is an abbreviation for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. The recommended foods not only contain enough carbohydrates (to compensate for energy) but are also very easily digestible. Hence you do not overburden your already painful stomach.

The following table points why we have recommended the ‘BRAT’;

Sr # Food Reason for suggesting
1 Bananas It contains potassium, helps build stomach lining and compensate potassium deficiency due to vomit and diarrhea
2 Rice The carbs’ equivalent energy is adequately provided by rice.
3 Applesauce It contains sugar, pectin, and carbs, so it helps boost energy levels. Also, you can digest it easily
4 Toast The white bread is also easily digestible.
Foods to avoid:

Avoid brown rice and whole-wheat bread as the fibers present in them can be hard on the stomach. Similarly, it is also helpful to stay away from bacon, spices, and dairy products while having viral gastroenteritis.

3. Traditional Medication:

Do you know that traditional medicines are almost useless in stomach flu? There is no way to cure this ailment with antibiotics as the medicines only target symptoms like fever are encountered with ibuprofen and vomiting with other pills. Hence, whatever treatment you take, it should be administered with caution.

Tylenol is sometimes prescribed for viral gastroenteritis. This medicine can relieve fever, ache, and diarrhea. It has almost no side effects in comparison to ibuprofen. However, if you have underlying liver disease, Tylenol must be avoided.

Furthermore, healthcare professionals can prescribe antiemetic medications like promethazine, ondansetron, metoclopramide, or prochlorperazine for treating nausea and diarrhea. Similarly, over-the-counter medicines like Imodium or Pepto-Bismol can be used for diarrhea.

4. Take Adequate rest:

It is imperative to sleep well and minimize your routine activities during stomach flu episodes. The healing process is expedited while our body is resting. Therefore, it is recommended to sleep sufficiently and taking a day off from work.

While resting, our immune system finds plenty of time to reorganize body functions, reallocate its resources and repair the damaged organs at cellular levels. In short, take this time to re-boot yourself and enjoy the benefits of healthy life after a successful recovery.

5. Acupressure:

The ancient Chinese healing technique acupuncture is closely related to acupressure. In acupressure, various points on our body are pressed periodically to heal specific symptoms. Studies reveal that pressing point P-6 can help relieve nausea. Almost three fingers width under our palm, point P-6 can be found. This point is pressed with both thumbs and gently massaged for two to three minutes.

There are various products available in the market to help locate acupressure points on our bodies—for example, a wristband or others. Apart from nausea, acupressure is also helpful for multiple other ailments like headache, backache, fatigue, anxiety and stress.