What you eat after you've had the stomach flu may help improve lingering symptoms faster. MayoClinic.com states that allowing your stomach to settle and easing back into a regular diet are two lifestyle choices that can help your digestive system repair itself. Talk with your doctor about a modified diet plan even after your symptoms subside from having the stomach flu. Do not attempt to self-treat or use over-the-counter medications without first talking with your doctor.
About the Stomach Flu
The term "stomach flu" may be misleading because it is not technically caused by the influenza virus. The stomach flu is a viral infection that occurs in your digestive system and primarily causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and abdominal pain that last a few days, according to MayoClinic.com. There is no cure for the stomach flu, aside from dietary changes, rest and drinking liquids to prevent dehydration from excessive diarrhea and vomiting. Even after your body has killed off the viral infection, you still need to slowly ease back into your regular diet.
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Easing Into New Foods
While you had stomach flu symptoms, your doctor most likely prescribed a diet that consisted of bland foods and increased liquids. The BRAT diet is a common acronym used to treat an upset stomach and the stomach flu, according to FamilyDoctor.org. BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. These foods provide the body with nutrition and help add bulk to your stools to shorten the duration of diarrhea. After your symptoms subside, your doctor may recommend adding fruits, vegetables, potatoes, crackers and jelly back into your diet.
Foods to Avoid
Avoid certain foods that can irritate the digestive system or are considered difficult to digest. Common foods that may make diarrhea worse include caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, fried foods, spicy foods, highly seasoned foods, high-fiber foods, and gas-forming foods such as broccoli and onions, according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Although the virus has been removed from your body, your digestive system needs to time to heal. Consuming these foods may cause minor nausea or loose stools.
Consuming plain, low-fat yogurt may help heal the lining of the intestines, according to AskDrSears.com. Yogurt contains probiotics, helpful bacteria that help maintain bowel regularity, which may assist the body in healing any damage done during the stomach flu. Avoid yogurt that is high in fat or sugar because it may perpetuate diarrhea.
Is this an emergency? If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, please see the National Library of Medicine’s list of signs you need emergency medical attention or call 911.