Acute gastroenteritis commonly called ‘stomach flu’ is a disease caused by viruses that trigger an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines). The incubation time of the gastroenteritis virus is between 24 to 72 hours.
Common symptoms of gastroenteritis are stomach pain, nausea, non-bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, mild fever and vomiting. Severe acute diarrhea of young children (6 months to two years old) is most often caused by rotavirus while in adults, it is mostly the famous norovirus that causes stomach flu.
How can symptoms associated with gastroenteritis be quickly removed ? How can you prepare a rehydration solution for yourself ? What are some recommended herbal medicines or herbal plants ? Can homeopathy treat stomach flu ?
1. Lie down : Lying down, or better yet, lying down in a fetal position, often helps to relieve gastrointestinal pain.
2. Hydrate oneself well : Since gastroenteritis causes dehydration (the loss of too large quantities of liquid and minerals because of vomiting and diarrhea), it is recommended to drink slowly and to sip 3 liters of water per day.
Give children an oral electrolyte solution, coconut water or a homemade preparation (see below). In Canada the specialty Gastrolyte ® is found in pharmacies. Consult a doctor if dehydration worsens, as intravenous infusion may be necessary.
3. Refrain from drinking milk, fruit juice and alcohol : Do not drink fruit juice or milk if you have stomach flu. The sugar in fruit juice and milk may aggravate the symptoms when the stomach is hyper sensitive.
4. Suck crushed ice : Crush the ice into small pieces in a plastic bag with a meat mallet or hammer. Suck on ice chips to rehydrate and lower body temperature if you have a fever.
5. Avoid solid foods : If symptoms of gastroenteritis is manifested by vomiting, stop eating solid foods for a day or two. If you choose to stop eating solid foods, be sure to eat properly in order to heal faster. Consume such a ‘power energy drink ‘ rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and electrolytes. When you begin eating solid foods once more, do so gradually.
• Against headache, stomach ache, fever and aches caused by gastroenteritis, acetaminophen (Acet ®, Tempra ® or Tylenol ®) is a drug that can be taken every 4 hours. It is, however, not recommended to take ibuprofen or aspirin, which has the disadvantage of irritating the stomach.
• Hydrochloride loperamide (Imodium ®) or diphenoxylate atropine (Lomotil ®) are very useful anti-diarrheal medications to stop diarrhea and prevent dehydration. The immodium ® is available in capsule form for adults, and as an oral solution for children over 2 years.
• Promethazine (Phenergan ®, Anergan ®) is an antiemetic drug to treat nausea and vomiting.
• Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol ®) is a conventional cure which reduces discomfort and treats diarrhea of the gastrointestinal tract and nausea.
• For babies 6 weeks and older, there are oral vaccines: RotaTeq ® and Rotarix ® that protect against gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus infection.
1. BRAT diet : The BRAT diet (English: banana, rice, apple and toast) is to eat bananas, rice, chewable apples, tea and toast for two days after the onset of gastroenteritis. These 4 foods are rich in fiber and are very easy to digest after an episode of gastroenteritis. It is also possible to include sweet black tea (rich in tannin) and probiotic yogurt in the diet.
2. Recipe for rehydration fluid recommended by the WHO : In one liter of sterile water, stir the equivalent of six teaspoons of sugar and a teaspoon of salt.
3. Another home-made rehydration solution recipe : In 600 ml of cooled boiled water, mix 360 ml of orange juice and pure unsweetened 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
4. Herbal therapy against stomach flu :
When the patient is able to ingest liquids well, an infusion of ginger and anise is a simple, natural and effective remedy for curing gastroenteritis.
Indeed, ginger (Zingiber officinale) has antiemetic properties which acts against nausea and vomiting.
The anise (Pimpinella anisum) has carminative, digestive and antispasmodic properties that can soothe colic and regulate bowel movements.
To prepare for this medicinal tea, put a slice of fresh ginger about 3 cm in diameter in a cup with a spoonful of anise seeds and pour hot water over it. Wait several minutes before drinking this slightly sweetened or non-sweetened infusion.
In Mediterranean countries, an infusion prepared with a mixture of equal amounts of mint leaves, anise and yarrow is a good home remedy against gastroenteritis.
Mint is known to reduce spasms of the stomach leading to vomiting and generally soothes the digestive tract. Yarrow acts as a tonic, astringent and antispasmodic.
A decoction of marshmallow root is shown in herbal medicine to relieve symptoms of gastroenteritis. The assets contained in the marshmallow root’s ingredients will restore the fluid into the tissues depleted by vomiting and diarrhea.
In aromatherapy, in order reduce the risk of the virus spreading, it is recommended to wash the hands frequently with liquid soap, to which you can add a few drops of rosemary essential oil with antiviral properties.
To avoid contagion in the toilet, wash the toilet seats, sinks and other surfaces with a solution of 1/4 liter of white vinegar and 1 teaspoon of rosemary essential oil.
Ginger is a digestive tonic that relieves nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, colic, bloating and flatulence.
Here are 7 homeopathic remedies often recommended in cases of stomach flu. The three main homeopathic remedies to treat gastroenteritis are Arsenicum album, Carbo vegetabilis and Veratrum album.
1) Arsenicum album 5 CH
Arsenicum album is a homeopathic remedy that is indicated in cases of gastroenteritis if you have putrid, dark and liquid stools or if you have vomiting and diarrhea at the same time. You may feel agitated, anxious or exhausted, and feel a burning sensation after using the toilet.
Arsenicum album can also be used to treat diarrhea accompanied by fever and chills caused by food poisoning. As soon as the patient drinks the least amount of liquid, they tend to vomit again. The dose is 5 pellets every 30 minutes during the first hours. Space them out as and when symptoms improve. You can start the treatment with a dose of Arsenicum album 15CH.
2) Carbo Vegetabilis 5 CH
If you have gastroenteritis characterized by manifestations of the following: diarrhea, significant bloating above the navel, abdominal pain forcing you to double over, and flatulence (gas emissions), the Carbo fits perfectly. The patient finds relief by breathing fresh air and belching. The dosage is 3 pellets every hour.
3) Chamomilla Vulgaris 5 CH
Chamomile is indicated if you have abdominal pain, nausea and suffer from diarrhea of a green color. Chamomile is a homeopathic medicine commonly used to soothe gastroenteritis in infants and young children who complain of spasmodic pain, colic and watery diarrhea. 3 pellets every hour.
4) Colocynthis 7 CH
If the desire to go to the bathroom is signaled by abdominal cramps so severe that you double over in half, Colocynthis is another natural remedy well signposted. The patient suffers from diarrhea and is relieved by heat.
5) Ipecac 5 CH, 7 CH or 9CH
Ipecac is a good choice of homeopathic remedy if the patient suffers from persistent nausea and vomiting, especially if these symptoms are accompanied by pain around the navel. Diarrhea is greenish. We will opt for a dilution 5CH every 2 hours in case of vomiting, and 7CH for nausea.
6) Podophyllum peltatum 9 CH
If your bowels gurgle before the beginning of an explosive diarrhea and you do not feel pain, homeopathic treatment with Podophyllum fits perfectly. You go to the toilet frequently and diarrhea occurs mostly in the morning early. After defecating, you may feel tired and lying on the stomach relieves you. Recommended dosage: 3-5 pellets every 2hours, to be spaced out depending on the results.
7) Veratrum Album 5 CH, 7 CH or 9 CH
When profuse diarrhea occurs at the same time as the onset of stomach cramps, vomiting, cold sweats and chills, homeopathic treatment with Veratrum album is recommended. These symptoms usually worsen after drinking and the slightest movement.
Author : Alexis ROGER
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