While it is often mislabeled as the “stomach flu”, the condition known medically as viral gastroenteritis is not caused by the influenza virus, but by any one of several other viruses that are highly contagious and transmit easily from one person to another. This illness is marked by symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain and sometimes a fever.
Because it is a viral infection, of course, antibiotics are useless to treat this difficult illness. However, there are some natural methods that people can utilize during the course of this infection that will help to ease the symptoms as much as possible and also prevent dehydration, which is one of the more serious issues that comes with this kind of illness. Read on to find out more about these natural techniques.
One real danger of the stomach flu is dehydration. This is due to a combination of both vomiting and diarrhea, which take a lot of fluid out of the body, combined with the fact that people are sometimes unable to keep fluids down even when they are drinking. Ice chips, however, can sometimes be easier to get down than liquid water and can help prevent a fluid imbalance.
Fennel Seed Tea
Fennel seed has been used in India and other parts of the East as a digestive aid for thousands of years. One thing it is particularly good for is abdominal cramping and gas which often accompany a gastric infection. To make it, simply add a teaspoon full of fennel seeds to a cup of boiling water, then cover the cup and let it steep for 10 minutes. You can sweeten with honey if desired.
While often thought of primarily as a sleep aid, chamomile does not just calm down nerves: it can also calm down an irritated stomach and help ease cramping and abdominal discomfort. It, too, will help contribute to the body’s hydration level which, again, is all-important in this kind of illness.
When the worst of the illness has passed and it is possible to hold down more solid food, try eating plain, unsweetened yogurt. This has good nutritional value, is very soothing and bland so as not to irritate an inflamed stomach lining, and of course is a great source of probiotic bacteria to help restore the beneficial flora in the gut.
These natural remedies are not complicated or expensive. However, they can help to ease the worst symptoms of a gastrointestinal infection and prevent dehydration, the most potentially serious side effect of this illness. Along with these remedies, resting as much as possible and waiting for the virus to run its course are the best ways to get through this unpleasant infection as quickly as possible!
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