So a Gastrointestinal bug generally takes us unaware and can hit with nausea, vomiting and for added fun…. diarrhea. (I can never spell that word, I had to spell check – think its my mind blocking it out… fair enough).
People confuse with the flu or call it the ‘stomach flu’ but really it has nothing to do with the flu (which is cause by one of the many influenza viruses) while a GI or Gastrointestinal bug can have varied causes…. mostly the ones that go through us fast (like in 24 to 48 hours) are viral. So basically you have to keep hydrated and wait it out while trying to be as comfortable as possible. If it lasts longer than a day or you are worried you aren’t keeping hydrated please seek medical care – dehydration is very dangerous – and it can happen fast, especially with children.
I generally suggest water or flat ginger ale or chicken soup. Stay away from Gatoraide as a general rule as the loads of sugar wont do you any favours and it really isn’t formulated for this kind of illness. Pedialyte or Gastrolyte work too . Research has actually been done on chicken soup and illness and people who consume home made chicken soup actually do fair better on recovery from illness. (Seriously, Grandma is always right so just give in).
While you are nauseated something you can do to help the nausea is smell Peppermint Essential Oil . It works remarkably fast, is safe as you are just smelling it, and totally non-invasive. Good for kids and pregnant women too. One caveat. The oils you can buy off the shelf are not all equal. There is no laws governing what companies put on their bottles or in them. For this reason you may thing you have a pure essential oil that is not. I use Young Living Essential Oils in my practice and at home as I am happy with their process of standardizing what is in every bottle and they have outside labs cross check the contents. It is a great product.
Ok, so now you are in recovery mode and your tummy is tender. What do you go back to eating right away so as to not freak out your system?
Back to grandma and her advice: B.R.A.T.
Eat only B.R.A.T. for 24 hours then you should be good to reintroduce other foods slowly. Take your time re-introducing meats (especially red meat – this may take a week or so) and dairy (can take even longer). Sometimes your normal flora in the gut is off after one of these bouts with a bug and especially diary and meet can trigger another bout of diarrhea. Happened with my son not long ago… sigh, poor kid (He is all good now though thanks!). Also – a good probiotic can really help – really we should all take one daily but especially in this situation. If is your kids who are sick there are also really good chewable probiotics formulated for children.
Wait – what is BRAT?
A – apple sauce
These things tend to be binding and easy on the GI system and have a bonus of generally being around the house. If you don’t have apple sauce on hand here is a quick recipe for apple sauce that can be easily whipped up:
seriously that’s it – peel and core apples and chop – throw in a pot and cover with water. Boil this adding water periodically as it evaporates until the apples lose their form and you can smush them. Add honey for sweetness and cinnamon (but be careful with this on a tender tummy not all will like it). The honey has the added bonus of being anti-microbial and has been used since antiquity for healing. Certainly can’t hurt here.
Also, almost goes without saying… wash your hands lots. Best way to prevent the spread of illness. Be serious about it. I make my son sing the alphabet song as he is soaping up – that’s about how long you need to do it. Then let the soap and water flow ‘downhill’ as you rinse it off so as to carry the virus or bacteria away from you and down the drain (I mean angle hands down and let water flow from wrists to fingertips and off).
Something Grandma may not have known is that chiropractic adjustments have been shown to boost the white blood cell count – if you are feeling sick you shouldn’t cancel you appointment you should go to see the chiropractor -or book an appointment at the start of the cold – we can boost your immune system! Stay healthy this cold and flu season – one of the ways to do that is regular chiropractic care. If you have more questions about this please contact Dr. Karen.
Hope all this helps. And remember, just listen to your Grandmother. She was right all along.