Acidophilus, a healthy bacterium that lives in your digestive system, cannot prevent the stomach flu but can help treat symptoms from the stomach flu. The stomach flu is a viral infection that occurs in your digestive tract and causes vomiting, nausea and diarrhea. The only way to prevent it is to avoid people who appear to be sick, wash your hands regularly and don't share personal items. If you believe that you may have the stomach flu, call your doctor.
What is Stomach Flu?
"Stomach flu" is a misleading term because it is not related to the influenza virus. Instead, viral gastroenteritis can be caused by various viruses, such as rotavirus, enteric adenovirus, astrovirus and norovirus, according to MedlinePlus. The viral infection is spread from person to person through bodily fluid by sneezing, coughing or spiting. Stomach flu symptoms typically appear within one to four days after you've contracted the virus. Most symptoms last for one to three days, but can last up to 10 days. You need to remain under your doctor's care while symptoms persist.
Acidophilus is commonly added to yogurt and is found primarily in your intestines. This good bacteria, or probiotic, has shown to shorten the severity and duration of diarrhea, according to AskDrSears.com. During the stomach flu, the digestive system empties itself through vomiting and diarrhea. A lot of your good bacteria can be expelled and diminished by diarrhea. Taking an acidophilus supplement or eating it in yogurt can help restore and maintain a healthy balance in your digestive system. Do not take any dietary supplement without your doctor's advice.
Foods to Eat or Avoid
Your diet is an important aspect of treating the stomach flu. Along with taking probiotics, you should avoid greasy foods, high-fiber foods and foods that contain a lot of spice. Eliminate caffeinated and alcoholic products from your diet as well. Increase your clear liquid intake with water, juice and chicken broth. Eat bland foods in small portions, such as potatoes, cooked carrots, bananas, rice, toast and applesauce, according to MedlinePlus.
Preventing the Stomach Flu
MedlinePlus states that the most effective way to prevent the stomach flu is to wash your hands and handle food properly. All children should be vaccinated for the rotavirus infection, beginning at the age of 2. If you are aware that your child has the stomach flu, do not send her to school or day care.