How to stop the stomach flu fast
Oh, the stomach flu. It just hit my family so hard! This wasn’t any old bug. This was the kind that empties you out and leaves you sore and spent for long after the first signs of illness.
My husband was hospitalized due to the violent illness and dehydration, I was confined to my bed for close to 24 hours.
My poor parents were taking care of my daughter and my sick son until my mom caught the bug less than 24 hours after they started caring for them.
After my husband remained in the hospital overnight, he was discharged yesterday and I took him home so we could both recover.
We crawled out of bed early this morning to drive 150 miles to get our babies (and allow my mom to rest!). Then we made our way back home to rest our tired bodies.
When we were all notably through with the worst of it, I realized that I had information I needed to share with other parents.
I was desperate to figure out how to stop the stomach flu fast so I’d know for next time!
After a few calls to an on-call nurse and my sister (a mother of eight and my #1 source for parenting advice), I learned that there really is no cure for the stomach flu.
The stomach flu is caused by a virus.It’s usually norovirus, especially in otherwise healthy adults.
According to the CDC, the most common symptoms of norovirus are:
- stomach pain
Symptoms develop very quickly after being exposed to norovirus – within 12-48 hours. But, thankfully, most people infected with norovirus get better within 1-3 days.
The CDC also confirms that there’s no specific medicine to treat people with norovirus illness.
There are, however, a few things almost everyone does that actually makes any stomach bug worse.
Mistakes that make the stomach flu worse
The first thing that makes the stomach flu worse is drinking any fluids immediately after vomiting.
I know we’re warned over and over that we need to stay dehydrated. It’s true, dehydration is a huge health risk.
But drinking anything right after you’ve thrown up due to a stomach bug is a bad idea. You’ll likely throw up everything you drank plus more fluids in your system.
Drinking liquids right away can make you even more dehydrated than you were before!
Eating is another big no-no. There’s nothing pleasant about vomiting, so don’t give your body anything to reject until after you’re sure it can handle simpler things.
Most people think food is so important to regain strength and heal the body. It’s not untrue, but it’s not nearly as necessary as you might think.
The human body can go up to 21 days without food, but only a few days without water. So focus on the plan to keep water down long before you even think about food.
See the list below for what you should drink, then eat when you have the stomach flu. There’s a certain order and timeline you should follow to get on the road to recovery as soon as you possibly can!
Ice chips for the stomach flu
If you’re looking for how to stop a stomach virus fast, you’ll definitely want to follow these directions now, as they’ll help you recover as quickly as possible!
The first step is to stop giving your body fluids and food that can be vomited back up again.
How to stop the stomach flu
- Don’t eat or drink anything until 2 hours after vomiting.
- After 2 hours without vomiting, start with ice chips to see if your body is strong enough to handle anything.
- After you can handle ice chips, take small sips of cold, clear liquids every 10-20 minutes.
- See how to make homemade Pedialyte instead of using over-the-counter electrolyte replacers. It takes about 30 seconds and you’ll be happy you didn’t have to run to the store!
- Do not eat anything for 4-6 hours after your body is able to accept liquids without vomiting.
- After you keep liquid down for at least 4 hours, reintroduce gentle, easy foods. Start by eating Jello, broth and dry toast. Think simple, low-protein foods that are easy to digest.
- If your little one hasn’t had a wet diaper in 12+ hours, call the doctor for advice.
If you have any concerns, be sure to contact a doctor or get to a hospital immediately!
While we clearly had the same bug, my husband was much, much sicker than me. He needed medical care, while I just needed time and sleep to recover.
I certainly hope none of you suffer from this sickness, because it’s absolutely miserable! If you do, however, the tips above may help you (and your stomach) have a better recovery!
Boy, we had it too! Christmas Eve! It was terrible! good luck!
We got it at New Years. My then 11 month old wound up in the hospital for 3 days. It was awful
That sounds horrible! Hopefully they got over it quickly!
Marybeth Hamilton says
Oh, it seems like it was such a secret until I started talking about it! Now it seems like every family with little ones has had the stomach flu at least once this season!
I’m not sure if it’s a virus or not since I’m not or have vomited .It started this morning .
I got it on my birthday a week ago… goddamn Benihanas!
though mine was just for the evening 😛
So sorry you guys were hit so hard. We had it 2x last winter–once right after Christmas and then again during the February school break. We really know how to vacation!
Suzie - Kiddo Savings says
Oh sweetie I am so sorry! Hoping you and the family feel better fast – The bug is going aorund DS school here and its horrible!! =(
I am glad that you guys are starting to feel better. That sounded like a really rough time.
Oh no! That really stinks! My LO and DH have and still are pretty sick. Luckily I was only sick for 1 night.
Hope you and your family are well again soon!
So sorry! Everyone around us is getting it. I just want to shut me and my son up in the house and not leave until everyone is over it!
Thanks for your blog! I’m giving it an award! https://bit.ly/9i243i
Grr! I have it right now 🙁 I have been vomiting since 4 am this morning
i have it right now and so does my mother. its terrible. its vomit diarrhrea and runny nose. right after a 2 day drive.
fyi. try eating fruits and veggies after the bug has gone.
Your post is the most realistic about the stomach bug, i have read. And pretty much what my mom always said even the jello water. I have read so many posts about the stomach bug and they keep talking about drinking and I’m like but that never seems to work. Thansk for the tips. And I’m praying for a magical cure for the stomach bug. It and i are miserable
Tim Yaotome says
When you mentioned that one should avoid drinking fluids after vomiting due to the stomach flu, my tip is to call the nearest gastroenterologist as soon as symptoms begin to appear. In my opinion, said medical professional can help advise a family on what to do and what not to do when someone gets this disease. I will be sure to find one in order to help get a friend or relative cured of it but also prevent it from spreading as well.
FYI there is no such thing as a stomach flu. Flu is a respiratory infection and has nothing to do with the digestive track. If there is vomiting and or diarrhea then it is some type of gastrointestinal infection. If there is fever, coughing, body aches, congestion then it could possibly be the flu. Staying hydrated is good for either infection.