Throughout your life, at some time or another, you’re going to develop a stomach virus. You’re going to have a few days where you just don’t feel well and can’t seem to keep anything down. It’s awful to go through but it’s something that happens to everyone, even those who are extremely careful to avoid germs. The problem is, germs are absolutely everywhere and it’s impossible to avoid all of them. What you need to do instead is make sure that you know what to do before you get a stomach virus and while you are suffering from it as well.
We’ll help you understand a little more about what a stomach virus is as well as how it’s different from the flu (even though these two words are commonly used interchangeably). We’ll also explain what you can do to prevent yourself from getting a stomach virus (in most cases) and what you should do if you end up with a stomach virus.
After all, recovery is going to be the most important thing but there are a lot more methods to do just that then you probably ever realized. So take a moment to understand your stomach virus a little better and get yourself better prepared to handle it.
What is a stomach virus?
A stomach virus is often confused with the common flu, however the two are not the same. The difference is generally vomiting, which occurs with a stomach virus but does not occur with a common cold. The common misconception comes in when we consider that the common flu does in fact cause nausea, fever, muscle aches, respiratory congestion and additional symptoms of a cold. On the other hand, a stomach virus can result in each of these as well as vomiting and diarrhea. In severe cases it can also result in more serious side effects and symptoms.
If a stomach virus is allowed to continue for too long without any type of treatment it can result in sunken eyes, light-headedness, increased thirst, dry or sticky sensations in the mouth, loss of elasticity in the skin and dehydration. This is why it is extremely important to speak with a doctor as quickly as possible if you believe you have a stomach virus or if you are unsure if you may be experiencing these symptoms.
The flu is a type of viral infection that is very similar to a cold in many ways. A stomach virus, on the other hand, can actually come from a variety of different sources such as virus, bacteria, parasites, or just about anything else.
While a stomach virus can last for a very long time or a relatively short one, the flu can actually be rather mild or turn into pneumonia if it is left completely untreated. Another difference between the two is that a stomach virus is able to be treated with medications (as we’ll discuss below) yet the flu is not.
Preventing stomach virus
The best thing anyone can do is try to prevent themselves from getting a stomach virus in the first place. Of course, in many instances, this is much easier said than done. Many people attempt to stave off a stomach virus but they still develop one. The best thing you can do is take care of yourself and do your best to remain healthy at all times. This is going to help your body build up its immune system to be stronger and more capable of fighting when something comes along and you may never have any symptoms.
The first thing to do is make sure you are eating right. You want to make sure that you get enough calories each day but also that you are getting enough fruits and vegetables because that’s how you get the vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Those vitamins and minerals allow your body to develop the immunities that it needs in order to keep the stomach virus away. If you don’t get enough of them your immunities won’t be strong enough to fight anything that comes your way from the common cold up to very serious illnesses.
Next, make sure that you’re drinking plenty. The best things you could drink are water (to keep you hydrated) and juice. Just make sure that if you are drinking juice it’s healthy. Many juices aren’t all-natural and actually contain a large amount of sugar. These are not going to help you stay healthy. They are just going to cause you to gain weight, get more acne and even dehydrate your body. What you want is something natural that contains the same vitamins and minerals that the natural fruit or vegetable does.
Taking vitamins is a great way to keep yourself healthy as well. Doctors have proven that the very best way you can get the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy is through eating fruits, vegetables and other foods that contain them. If it’s just not possible for you to do this however, you can take supplements that will help you get those added vitamins and minerals.
You should be careful of this because not all vitamins and minerals are capable of being absorbed this way. You want to make sure that you talk with your doctor about deficiencies you may have as well because getting too much of certain vitamins can also hurt you.
Washing your hands is another way to protect yourself. Remember, the stomach virus is a virus. That means it comes from someone or something that you’ve touched or come into contact with in some way. So how can you make sure that you don’t get it? Well by getting rid of the germs that contain it of course. Now you’re not going to be able to just look at your hands and say ‘oh I touched the stomach virus.’ What you need to do is wash your hands frequently to get rid of any germs you have touched.
There actually is a double-edged sword with this however. What you want to do is wash your hands before and after you eat, after you touch something you know is dirty and most likely before you touch a baby (or after you touch someone you know is sick). On the other hand you don’t want to wash your hands continuously because you can actually hurt your body this way. By taking in germs your body starts to build up immunities that it uses to fight off even more dangerous things.
Think about this, when you decided to exercise for the first time you may have had trouble making it around the block. A week later around the block wasn’t challenging enough so you started walking two blocks. Then that wasn’t enough so you moved up to three.
The same is true of your immune system. It needs germs in the body so that it can continue to get stronger. By being around germs you are helping your body with this problem. On the other hand being around too many germs can overwhelm the body and cause you to get sick. Make sure you’re washing your hands frequently, but don’t start running to the sink every time you do anything (or using the hand sanitizer too much).
Finally, make sure you’re getting enough rest. The average person needs around eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re not getting that much sleep you could be hurting yourself. Your body uses that time to rest and recover from the day. It fixes problems within the body, such as minor muscle tears or injuries and the brain simply takes some time to rest after working hard all day. If you don’t give your body the time it needs to do all these things you may find yourself getting sick even more often instead of fighting off illness.
Check out our article on tips and guidelines on how to sleep better for more information.
Stomach virus treatment and remedies
Treating a stomach virus is not that difficult either. Of course, you’re not going to enjoy the process of having a stomach virus but you’ll be able to overcome a lot of the side effects with some traditional methods or even some prescription and over-the-counter medications. All of these will affect different aspects of your virus and will help you to feel better in different ways. Using them, however, can also shorten the amount of time that you are sick.
The first thing to do is keep eating right. When you have a stomach virus it can sometimes be difficult to eat anything. You struggle to keep it down or you just don’t feel hungry. This is why a lot of people who are sick will eat soup or Jell-O.
These substances are mainly liquid which makes them easier to eat even if you aren’t hungry but they still provide you with at least some nutrients and they keep your body going better. The more you can eat the better off you’ll be but no one wants to make themselves sick.
If you absolutely can’t eat (and even if you can) you need to make sure that you’re drinking plenty of juice. All-natural juices made with real fruit and vegetables and no added sugar are the best for you. These are going to give you the most benefits because you’ll have plenty of vitamins and minerals and you’ll be building up your strength to fight off the virus. Make sure you keep some juice with you at all times and keep drinking it as much as you can. Even if you only take a little sip it’s helping you.
Plenty of rest
Sleeping is just as important once you get sick as it is when you’re trying to prevent it. Sleep once again helps your body to rejuvenate and get ready to fight harder the next time. The entire time that you have a stomach virus your body is trying to get rid of it and by doing everything you can to get it out of your system you could get rid of it faster.
You want to make sure that you sleep enough because this is when your body is trying its best to get prepared and get strong enough to beat that virus.
Over the counter medications
Many over-the-counter medications can help to reduce the amount time that you spend feeling lousy or they can take away some of the side effects and symptoms. For example, pain reliever can help you get rid of headaches or body aches that may come along with your virus. Antacids could help you feel a little less sick and cough drops may soothe your throat.
It’s important not to combine too many different types of medication because this can actually cause you to upset your stomach even more. Just taking a few different medications for the worst problems can help you feel better however.
Prescription medications will require you to go see a doctor. Now if you’re physically ill for over 24-hours it is recommended that you see a doctor anyway. This is to make sure you’re getting enough nutrients into your body. A doctor can also decide if a prescription medication is going to help you. If you have a stomach virus they can prescribe something for you. On the other hand a typical flu (as we mentioned above) is not able to be treated with traditional antibiotics.
Now the problem with prescription medications is that you will generally be prescribed an antibiotic. This is what most people are given by doctors when they have a general illness because it gets rid of the bacteria that causes the illness. The problem with antibiotics is that they kill all bacteria. What this means is you may end up making you feel worse once you’ve run the entire course of them because your immunities are actually brought down by those medications. If you can avoid taking them it’s generally better for your body in the long run. However, it’s important to consider how you’re feeling in the moment as well. Antibiotics may be the only answer.
Do checkout our reviews of the best first aid kits to help you be prepared for anything.
Alternative medications and therapies are gaining in popularity lately. Many people want to find a way to help themselves feel better but they don’t want to take any type of chemical product (which both prescription and over-the-counter medications are). As a result, they turn to some alternative methods such as massage, aromatherapy, tea and even acupressure. Each of these is believed to help someone who is suffering because they help to activate different parts of the body and different aspects of the immunities in the body.
Massage, aromatherapy and acupressure help to pinpoint specific areas in the body that could be causing trouble. By doing this it is possible to alleviate stress and tension in those areas. For those who use these types of therapy for illness and simply general practice, this is the reason for illness, tension and stress.
The entire body will be better capable of overcoming illnesses if it is able to completely relax. These methods along with chiropractic adjustments have been known to reduce the number of illnesses that a person will have in any given period of time, though the exact success rate is unknown.
Tea is also a common solution for this because it helps to treat different aspects of your illness. For instance, fennel seed tea can help to relieve gas and stomach cramps while chamomile can reduce insomnia, nerves and calm your stomach.
Thyme, another popular tea flavor, can reduce gas and cramping as well. Even better, they all provide plenty of hydrating benefits for you even if they don’t seem to work for anything else. Plus, the hot beverage will soothe your throat and help you feel more relaxed which is always a good thing if you’re not feeling well.
A stomach virus is definitely not something you want to go through. Unfortunately, it’s something that everyone goes through at some time in their life. It’s impossible to keep yourself completely healthy at every single moment of your life.
There are just too many germs and viruses out there to protect yourself entirely. So the best thing you can do is take some precautions to avoid stomach virus as much as possible and treat yourself well if you do get it so you can recover as quickly as possible.
The methods explained in this article aren’t comprehensive. There are plenty of other methods for overcoming your stomach virus that you can try out and there are plenty of ways that you can go about trying to prevent them in the first place.
The best thing you can do however, is take care of yourself. Keep an eye on everything. You are the one who will notice first if there is something that just doesn’t seem right. And always remember that the sooner you can detect that virus inside your body, the faster you can take action to get it back out again. Don’t let yourself suffer when you don’t have to.