Health Center: Acute Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
Acute Gastroenteritis (stomach flu)
This illness can be due to a wide variety of bacterial, viral, parasitic, or chemical agents.
- abdominal cramping
- body aches
Gastroenteritis is usually self-limited to 72 hours or less.
Here are some things to remember during the acute phase of your illness:
- Don’t try to eat or drink anything for 1-2 hours after vomiting. This gives your stomach a rest.
- After 1-2 hours, begin with sips (1 oz every 15-20 minutes) of clear liquids (water, jello, 7-up, tea, broth). As long as you are able to keep this down, you can increase the amount gradually until you can drink 8 oz every hour. NO milk products or fatty foods; these are very hard to digest. Stay with clear liquids for about 8-10 hours.
- Don’t go from clear liquids to regular food. Try blander foods first, like soup with noodles, dry toast, crackers, or dry cereal.
Diarrhea may occur with the vomiting, or it may occur after the vomiting has resolved. It can sometimes last longer than vomiting. Once you are able to keep fluids and bland foods down, and if the diarrhea continues, follow the BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast. These foods help to absorb liquid from the intestine and to add bulk, which slows down the activity of the intestine.
When to be concerned:
See a provider if:
- your symptoms do not resolve in 2-3 days
- you are unable to keep fluids down
- you feel lightheaded or are urinating less frequently than usual
- you have a fever or abdominal pain
- you see blood in your vomit or stools
For more information see: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/viral-gastroenteritis/DS00085
For an appointment, please contact the