Children and school combine to make a petri dish of bacteria and viruses just waiting to attack. To avoid stomach flu at school, take a holistic approach to revving up your immune system and maintaining good health. That includes vitamins and supplements, certain foods and good hygiene to stave off germs. Discuss the use of these methods with your doctor.
Vitamins and Supplements
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, or NCCAM, cautions that evidence for the effectiveness of most vitamins and supplements against the flu is inconclusive. However, several vitamins and supplements have demonstrated at least some evidence in effectiveness, although their effect is limited. One is vitamin C, a natural anti-viral. Another anti-viral is the mineral zinc. Echinacea is the product of the purple cone flower, and it's one of the most commonly used supplements among adults and children, according to NCCAM. Take each one on a regular basis or take it only when stomach flu presents. Echinacea is believed to be more effective at the first sign of symptoms. Vitamin C and zinc may be taken after symptoms fully develop.
Probiotics are colonies of live, friendly bacteria that help maintain the balance of healthy flora in your digestive system. They are available in capsules, powders and tablets. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes that there is limited but encouraging evidence that probiotics kill the bad bacteria that can make us sick. The Center also notes that cells in the digestive tract are connected to the immune system, so maintaining a healthy digestive tract may bolster the immune system.
Another holistic way to avoid stomach flu is with food. You can ingest vitamin C by drinking citrus juices and by eating foods such as red berries, red and green bell peppers, broccoli and spinach. Foods with zinc include liver, mushrooms and spinach. Yogurt without sugar, such as Greek yogurt, has natural probiotics. Soldiers in the Republic of Moldova eat garlic and onions daily to rev up the immune system, according to a 2009 Fox News article. Ginger is effective for nausea, and it is used in Chinese medicine to treat flu, although the National Institutes of Health states there is insufficient evidence to rate its effectiveness against flu.
Good Health Habits
One of the best ways to avoid stomach flu is by practicing good health habits. That means washing your hands before you touch your eyes, nose or mouth. Wash your hands after you go to the bathroom. Wash them also before you touch or pick up any food. To wash your hands effectively, scrub them with soap, water and plenty of back-and-forth motion for at least 20 seconds. Remember to scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your fingernails.
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Colds and Flu and CAM: What the Science Says
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: An Introduction to Probiotics
- FOX News: Soldiers Given Onions, Garlic to Fight H1N1 Flu; November 2009
- Medline Plus: Ginger
- CDC: Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs