Viral gastroenteritis, commonly known as the stomach flu, occurs when you get a germ or contamination in your intestines and it results in an infection. Most of the time, individuals contract the illness by eating or drinking something bad. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps. It is hard to treat so it is important to know how to avoid it in the first place.
How to Avoid the Stomach Flu with Dietary Tips
1. Drink Lots of Water
Nothing flushes germs out of your system faster than water. Drinking enough fluids and making sure you are properly hydrated is key to keeping you out of the emergency room. If you cannot eat solids, drink vegetable or fruit juices to replenish lost vitamins and nutrients. By staying hydrated, you will recover more quickly.
2. Take More Vitamin C
Strengthen your immunity by adding more vitamin C to your diet. Germs cause havoc in your system when you are at weakest, so eating nutrients that boost your immune system is great for preventing infection.
- Vitamin C is available in capsule, syrup, tablet and effervescent form, and the recommended daily dose is 500 mg. Doing so should increase your immunity.
- Vitamin C not only comes in supplement form. You can get your daily dose by eating food rich in the nutrient. Some of these foods include oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, cantaloupe, peppers and kiwi.
3. Eat Yogurt
Eating more yogurt, particularly probiotic yogurt, has been shown to prevent the stomach flu. Half a cup per day can actually prevent the recurrence of the illness and goes a long way in maintaining a healthy gut.
- Probiotic yogurt consists of good bacteria that fight illness-causing bacteria in your intestines and stomach. It also helps produce more of the good bacteria to keep the bad ones away.
- Did you know yogurt is actually produced by bacteria added to milk? This process produces lactic acid from milk's sugar.
4. Add More Mushrooms
Mushrooms boost your immunities by increasing your body's white blood cell count. White blood cells are instrumental in fighting off germs that cause illness. This is a good way on how to avoid the stomach flu.
- The great thing about mushrooms is there is such a wide variety to choose from. The most common include button, maitake, shitake, Portobello and reishi. Some have a higher influence on the immune system than others.
- Mushrooms are easy to cook and add to your prepared dishes. Up to 1 ounce a day will help boost your immune system.
5. Try Foods High in Carotenoids
Carotenoid is a vitamin A derivative known for its antioxidant and immunity boosting properties. Research has found that carotenoids allow the body to pinpoint foreign bodies and expel them through apoptosis.
- Foods high in carotenoid content include tomatoes, apricots, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and spinach.
- Men should take .9 mg per day and women .7 mg per day of vitamin A.
6. Eats Lots of Garlic
Garlic has been used medicinally for centuries. The herb boosts your immunity by exciting your white blood cells. This increased activity causes the cells to destroy foreign bodies, which includes viruses and bad bacteria. Consume a garlic clove every 3-4 hours as needed for the best results.
Lifestyle Tips to Avoid the Stomach Flu
1. Wash Hands Often
Improper hands washing is one of the most common ways to come in contact with the germs that cause the stomach flu. Think of the number of times you touch a counter, shake hands with someone or prepare raw meat. Each time you touch something, you have the potential of exposing yourself to germs.
To effectively wash your hands, use soap and lather your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds. If you have a sick baby in the house who is experiencing vomiting or diarrhea, it is important to disinfect the changing area and wash your hands thoroughly. In lieu of using hand sanitizer, opt for soap and water.
2. Clean Every Room and Every Floor
Maintaining a clean house goes a long way in how to avoid the stomach flu. Microscopic germs are littered throughout your commonly used areas and items. Some of these microorganisms carry viruses that lead to infection. Ways to keep your home free of germs:
- Use disposable paper towels or thoroughly disinfect reusable sponges and towels by soaking in bleach solutions a minimum of 15 minutes before rinsing.
- Two of the filthiest cleaning tools in your home is your mop and pail. They are used on your floors, which are covered in germs dragged in by your shoes. Consider using two pails when using the mop. One will contain your mopping solution and the other one water for rinsing. After you mop, disinfect it with an antimicrobial cleaning liquid.
- Speaking of floors. They need to be cleaned thoroughly because everything gets pulled, pushed and shuffled across it, including our feet. Mop with diluted bleach or antimicrobial liquid. Make sure to follow manufacturer instructions so you don't ruin your floor's finish. Always make sure it dries completely since germs love moist environments.
- It is recommended you clean your toilets every other day, making sure you flush every time you use. You should also clean your sinks often with a disinfecting solution.
3. Clean Frequently Used Items
Cleaning obvious places that germs thrive is essential, but so is disinfecting frequently used items like your computer keyboard and remote controls. A good way on how to avoid the stomach flu is keeping hard surfaces free of pesky viruses and bacteria, which can survive for up to two days. Other places to keep clean include your cell phone, doorknobs and anywhere and anything touched regularly. This is especially important if you have a sick person in your home.
4. Your Dishwasher Is Best
Some people swear by hand washing dishes, but studies have shown that your dishwasher is more effective in killing bacteria and viruses. This is most likely true because your water temperature must be very hot before it can do any good against the stomach flu. It must be so hot that it would probably scald your hands. Clean all your dishes in the dishwasher, including utensils and glasses.
5. Use High Temperature in Wash
It is not pleasant to think about, but the fact of the matter is your dirty underwear carries a small amount of fecal matter in them, no matter how much you wipe. Since you wash them in your washing machine, it goes to follow that fecal matter is deposited in your washer. Because of this, you should always wash your clothes at the highest possible temperature, especially if someone is sick in the house. Wash sheets and towels in hot temperatures. Run a cycle with bleach and hot water, but without clothes, to disinfect your washing machine.