Stomach flu treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms. The condition can occur in anyone and at any age and is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, particularly in the elderly, but also in the very young.
It's also known as gastric flu, viral gastroenteritis, stomach bug or vomiting bug has high economic costs too and is a leading cause of sickness absence in the work place due to being so infectious and disabling, with the average stomach flu illness lasting anything between 2 to 7 days (although often called a 24 hour bug, it takes at least 48 hours to get over the symptoms with or without treatment).
Gastric flu treatment of symptoms including fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and acute diarrhea requires several treatment options including fluids, antipyretics and analgesics, antiemetics (antisickness medication). Other symptoms that can occur include dizziness, cramps, headache and palpitations, usually as a result of dehydration, should settle with fluids. As previously mentioned, whilst sometimes a 24 hour bug, the average stomach flu duration is between 2 to 3 days and most symptoms usually settle without any need to see a doctor as long as you follow these simple measures:
The single most important treatment is with fluids. Fluid loss accounts for the biggest cause of both morbidity and mortality. When treating stomach flu it is sometimes difficult to maintain fluid intake because of persistent vomiting. If this is not possible, dehydration ensues and a hospital admission may be needed in a small number of cases.
With fluid loss there is usually electrolyte and sugar loss so when replacing fluids, this should ideally be with oral rehydration salts that can be mixed with water. There are several proprietary brands such as Dioralyte and Pedialyte treatment. However, a good home remedy for treating stomach flu can be made from sugar, salt and water which are usually readily available in the home. A teaspoon of table salt, 8-9 teaspoonfuls of sugar mixed in a litre of water is all you need and this can be diluted to taste with juices if required.
Stomach flu treatment with antisickness medications such as Cyclizine, Metoclopramide or Domperidone can be helpful when vomiting is a major problem. By taking such medicines, they can allow the sufferer to maintain a fluid intake.
A natural remedy that can be tried is ginger which also has some antisickness properties.
Avoiding foods and drinks that may worsen symptoms is also recommended. These include alcohol, coffee and tea (due to caffeine being a gut stimulant), fatty foods and dairy products such as milk and butter.
When running a fever, the use of antipyretics such as Paracetamol and Acetaminophen can help. Being analgesics or ‘painkillers’, they can also be helpful when treating stomach flu cramps.