17 Foods and Drinks for When the Stomach Flu Strikes
By Makayla Meixner
Scientifically, the stomach flu is known as viral gastroenteritis, a highly contagious infection that affects your stomach and intestines.
Norovirus — the most common stomach flu virus — results in 19–21 million cases each year in the U.S. alone (1Trusted Source).
The primary symptoms of the stomach flu include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramping and abdominal pain (2).
Fortunately, some foods and beverages may help settle your stomach, prevent further complications, and help you bounce back faster.
Here are 17 foods and drinks for when you have the stomach flu.
1. Ice Chips
The most common complication of the stomach flu is dehydration (3).
When the virus strikes you, it can be difficult to keep anything down, including water and other liquids.
Though hydration is crucial when faced with this illness, drinking too much at once may worsen nausea and vomiting.
Sucking on ice chips is a great place to start, as it prevents you from consuming liquids too quickly. This may help you keep fluids down and stay better hydrated in the early stages of the stomach flu (4Trusted Source).
SUMMARYIce chips help you take in water slowly, which your body may tolerate better in the early stages of the stomach flu.
2. Clear Liquids
Diarrhea and vomiting are the main symptoms of the stomach flu. They can quickly lead to dehydration if lost fluids aren't replaced (5Trusted Source).
Clear liquids are mainly composed of water and carbs, making them easy to digest. Some options are:
- decaffeinated teas
- clear fruit juices, such as apple, cranberry, and grape juice
- sports drinks
- coconut water
- oral rehydration solutions, such as Pedialyte
Keep in mind that fruit juices and sports drinks can be very high in sugar, so it's important to not drink too much of these beverages at once. Plus, avoid giving them to infants and young children without professional guidance, as they may worsen diarrhea (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7).
Clear liquids are easily digested and help replenish fluids lost due to diarrhea and vomiting.
3. Electrolyte Beverages
Replacing lost fluids and electrolytes is the cornerstone of stomach flu treatment (10Trusted Source).
At the first onset of diarrhea and vomiting, health professionals often recommend oral rehydration solutions, especially for infants and children. These contain water, sugar, and electrolytes in specific proportions that are easy to digest (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source).
Sports drinks are another option to help replenish fluids and electrolytes but are typically higher in sugar.
Researchers suggest that they may be just as effective as oral rehydration solutions at treating dehydration in adults (14Trusted Source).
Electrolyte beverages provide fluids and replenish important minerals lost during the stomach flu.
4. Peppermint Tea
In one study in 26 people who experienced nausea after surgery, smelling peppermint oil while doing deep breathing exercises relieved nausea in 58% of participants (16Trusted Source).
While studies on the benefits of peppermint tea for stomach flu specifically are lacking, there is little to lose by trying it. At the very least, peppermint tea is a potential source of much-needed fluids when you're sick.
Several studies suggest that smelling peppermint may alleviate nausea, though more research is needed on peppermint and the stomach flu specifically.
Though research on ginger for nausea during the stomach flu specifically is lacking, several studies have found that ginger helped reduce nausea due to pregnancy, cancer treatment, and motion sickness (19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source, 21Trusted Source).
Ginger is available fresh, as a spice, or as an ingredient in teas, ginger ale, and candies. Meanwhile, concentrated amounts of this spice can be found in syrups, capsules, and tinctures (22Trusted Source).
However, it may be best to avoid concentrated sources, as ginger may cause diarrhea when taken in high doses (23Trusted Source).
Instead, try freshly grating ginger root into a soup or brewing it in tea to potentially relieve nausea during the stomach flu.
Many studies support using ginger to reduce nausea, but more research is needed on using this herb to reduce nausea during the stomach flu specifically.
6. Broth-Based Soups
Broth-based soups have a very high water content, which can help with hydration during a bout of stomach flu.
They're also an excellent source of sodium, an electrolyte that can quickly become depleted with frequent vomiting and diarrhea.
For example, 1 cup (240 ml) of a standard chicken-noodle soup is about 90% percent water and provides roughly 50% of the Daily Value (DV ) for sodium (25).
During the stomach flu, broth-based soups are an ideal transition to solid foods, as they provide plenty of fluids and electrolytes.
7–10. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast
Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are the foundation of the BRAT diet.
Health professionals commonly recommend these bland foods for stomach complaints, as they're gentle on your stomach.
Keep in mind that the BRAT diet alone will not provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.
Nonetheless, bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are safe options to start with when queasy from the stomach flu.
Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast are safe foods to try while sick with the stomach flu.
11–13. Dry Cereal, Crackers and Pretzels
Since they're free of spices, low in fat, and low in fiber, they're gentle on your tummy.
What's more, these refined grains are often fortified with essential vitamins and minerals, which may help you get closer to meeting your daily nutrient needs while ill (31Trusted Source).
Dry cereal, crackers, and pretzels may be better tolerated during the stomach flu, as they're easy to digest, free of spices and low in fat and fiber.
14. Plain Potatoes
Bland foods like plain potatoes are great options when you have the stomach flu.
Plain potatoes are soft, low in fat, and made up of easily digestible starches. They're also loaded with potassium, which is one of the primary electrolytes lost during vomiting and diarrhea (32Trusted Source).
Avoid adding high-fat toppings, such as butter, cheese, and sour cream, as they can worsen diarrhea. Instead, consider seasoning your potatoes with a dash of salt, as sodium can become depleted during the stomach flu.
Plain potatoes are easily digested and rich in potassium, an important electrolyte that can become depleted during the stomach flu.
Eggs are a nutritious choice when you're ill with the stomach flu.
When prepared with minimal added fat, dairy, and spices, eggs are easy on your stomach.
They're also an excellent source of protein, with 6 grams per large egg, and provide other nutrients, like B vitamins and selenium, which is a mineral that's important for your immune system (34, 35Trusted Source).
Avoid frying eggs in oil, butter, or lard, as high amounts of fat may worsen your diarrhea (36).
Eggs are easy on your stomach and rich in protein and other nutrients, making them a great option when you're sick with the stomach flu.
16. Low-Fat Poultry and Meat
Lean poultry and meats may be better tolerated than high-fat options when you have the stomach flu. Lean choices include:
- skinless, white meat cuts of chicken and turkey
- extra-lean ground chicken, turkey, and beef
- low-fat cold cuts (lunch meat), such as chicken, turkey, and ham
- extra-lean cuts of beef, such as top sirloin and eye of round steak
- pork chops with the fat trimmed off
Avoid frying the meat and instead opt for baking, roasting, or grilling to help keep the fat content low and prevent further aggravating your upset stomach.
Low-fat poultry and meat are recommended over high-fat options, as they may be better tolerated during the stomach flu.
When hit with the stomach flu, replenishing fluids is a top priority.
Fruits also provide an abundance of vitamins and minerals, such as potassium and vitamins A and C (41Trusted Source).
Eating fruit can help replenish fluids when you have the stomach flu, which is a top priority.
Food and Drinks to Avoid
Some foods and beverages may worsen nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and other stomach flu symptoms. Consider avoiding the following:
- Caffeinated beverages. Caffeine can impair sleep quality, which may hinder recovery. Also, coffee stimulates your digestion and may worsen diarrhea (42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source).
- High-fat and fried foods. High-fat foods are more difficult to digest and may lead to diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting (29Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source).
- Spicy foods. Spicy foods may trigger nausea and vomiting in some people (29Trusted Source).
- Milk and milk products. When sick with the stomach flu, some people have issues digesting lactose, a protein in milk and milk products (46Trusted Source).
Caffeine, dairy, and overly sweet, spicy, or fatty foods and drinks may aggravate stomach flu symptoms.
The Bottom Line
When faced with the stomach flu, it can be difficult to keep food and beverages down.
Ice chips, clear liquids, and electrolyte beverages are good places to start, as they can help replenish fluids and electrolytes.
Until you're able to tolerate your usual diet, bland options like soups, refined grains, and plain potatoes are safe. Eggs, fruit, and low-fat poultry may also be easier to digest.
Allowing your body to rest, staying hydrated, and trying some of the foods on this list may help you recover more quickly when the stomach flu strikes.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Healthline.
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By Tim Radford
German scientists now know why so many fish are so vulnerable to ever-warming oceans. Global heating imposes a harsh cost at the most critical time of all: the moment of spawning.
Nearing the Brink<p>Since <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/abundant-fish-need-cool-seas-and-protection/" target="_blank">fish in the temperate zones already experience a wide variation</a> in seasonal water temperatures, it hasn't been obvious why species such as <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/sardines-swim-into-northern-waters-to-keep-cool/" target="_blank">cod have shifted nearer the Arctic, and sardines have migrated to the North Sea</a>.</p><p>But <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/ocean-warming-spurs-marine-life-to-rapid-migration/" target="_blank">marine creatures are on the move</a>, and although there are other factors at work, including overfishing and <a href="https://climatenewsnetwork.net/fish-cant-smell-well-in-more-acidic-seas/" target="_blank">the increasingly alarming changes in ocean chemistry</a>, thanks to ever-higher levels of dissolved carbon dioxide, temperature change is part of the problem.</p><p>The latest answer, Dr Dahlke and his colleagues report in the journal <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/cgi/doi/10.1126/science.aaz3658" target="_blank">Science</a>, is that many fish may already be living near the limits of their thermal tolerance.</p><p>The temperature safety margins during the moments of spawning and embryo might be very precise, and over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, marine and freshwater species have worked out just what is best for the next generation. Rapid global warming upsets this equilibrium.</p>
By Sherry H-Y. Chou, Aarti Sarwal and Neha S. Dangayach
The patient in the case report (let's call him Tom) was 54 and in good health. For two days in May, he felt unwell and was too weak to get out of bed. When his family finally brought him to the hospital, doctors found that he had a fever and signs of a severe infection, or sepsis. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. In addition to symptoms of COVID-19, he was also too weak to move his legs.
When a neurologist examined him, Tom was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes abnormal sensation and weakness due to delays in sending signals through the nerves. Usually reversible, in severe cases it can cause prolonged paralysis involving breathing muscles, require ventilator support and sometimes leave permanent neurological deficits. Early recognition by expert neurologists is key to proper treatment.
We are neurologists specializing in intensive care and leading studies related to neurological complications from COVID-19. Given the occurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in prior pandemics with other corona viruses like SARS and MERS, we are investigating a possible link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19 and tracking published reports to see if there is any link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19.
Some patients may not seek timely medical care for neurological symptoms like prolonged headache, vision loss and new muscle weakness due to fear of getting exposed to virus in the emergency setting. People need to know that medical facilities have taken full precautions to protect patients. Seeking timely medical evaluation for neurological symptoms can help treat many of these diseases.
What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?
Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Most commonly, the injury involves the protective sheath, or myelin, that wraps nerves and is essential to nerve function.
Without the myelin sheath, signals that go through a nerve are slowed or lost, which causes the nerve to malfunction.
To diagnose Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologists perform a detailed neurological exam. Due to the nerve injury, patients often may have loss of reflexes on examination. Doctors often need to perform a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as spinal tap, to sample spinal fluid and look for signs of inflammation and abnormal antibodies.
Studies have shown that giving patients an infusion of antibodies derived from donated blood or plasma exchange – a process that cleans patients' blood of harmful antibodies - can speed up recovery. A very small subset of patients may need these therapies long-term.
The majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients improve within a few weeks and eventually can make a full recovery. However, some patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome have lingering symptoms including weakness and abnormal sensations in arms and/or legs; rarely patients may be bedridden or disabled long-term.
Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Pandemics
As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, many neurologic specialists have been on the lookout for potentially serious nervous system complications such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Though Guillain-Barre Syndrome is rare, it is well known to emerge following bacterial infections, such as Campylobacter jejuni, a common cause of food poisoning, and a multitude of viral infections including the flu virus, Zika virus and other coronaviruses.
Studies showed an increase in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases following the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, suggesting a possible connection. The presumed cause for this link is that the body's own immune response to fight the infection turns on itself and attacks the peripheral nerves. This is called an "autoimmune" condition. When a pandemic affects as many people as our current COVID-19 crisis, even a rare complication can become a significant public health problem. That is especially true for one that causes neurological dysfunction where the recovery takes a long time and may be incomplete.
Though there is clear clinical suspicion that COVID-19 can lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, many important questions remain. What are the chances that someone gets Guillain-Barre Syndrome during or following a COVID-19 infection? Does Guillain-Barre Syndrome happen more often in those who have been infected with COVID-19 compared to other types of infections, such as the flu?
The only way to get answers is through a prospective study where doctors perform systematic surveillance and collect data on a large group of patients. There are ongoing large research consortia hard at work to figure out answers to these questions.
Understanding the Association Between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barre Syndrome
While large research studies are underway, overall it appears that Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare but serious phenomenon possibly linked to COVID-19. Given that more than 10.7 million cases have been reported for COVID-19, there have been 10 reported cases of COVID-19 patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far – only two reported cases in the U.S., five in Italy, two cases in Iran and one from Wuhan, China.
It is certainly possible that there are other cases that have not been reported. The Global Consortium Study of Neurological Dysfunctions in COVID-19 is actively underway to find out how often neurological problems like Guillain-Barre Syndrome is seen in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Also, just because Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs in a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, that does not imply that it was caused by the virus; this still may be a coincident occurrence. More research is needed to understand how the two events are related.
Due to the pandemic and infection-containment considerations, diagnostic tests, such as a nerve conduction study that used to be routine for patients with suspected Guillain-Barre Syndrome, are more difficult to do. In both U.S. cases, the initial diagnosis and treatment were all based on clinical examination by a neurological experts rather than any tests. Both patients survived but with significant residual weakness at the time these case reports came out, but that is not uncommon for Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients. The road to recovery may sometimes be long, but many patients can make a full recovery with time.
Though the reported cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far all have severe symptoms, this is not uncommon in a pandemic situation where the less sick patients may stay home and not present for medical care for fear of being exposed to the virus. This, plus the limited COVID-19 testing capability across the U.S., may skew our current detection of Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases toward the sicker patients who have to go to a hospital. In general, the majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients do recover, given enough time. We do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19-related cases at this stage of the pandemic. We and colleagues around the world are working around the clock to find answers to these critical questions.
Sherry H-Y. Chou is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh.
Aarti Sarwal is an Associate Professor, Neurology, Wake Forest University.
Neha S. Dangayach is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Disclosure statement: Sherry H-Y. Chou receives funding from The University of Pittsburgh Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the National Institute of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dean's Faculty Advancement Award. Sherry H-Y. Chou is a member of Board of Directors for the Neurocritical Care Society. Neha S. Dangayach receives funding from the Bee Foundation, the Friedman Brain Institute, the Neurocritical Care Society, InCHIP-UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media Seed Grant. She is faculty for emcrit.org and for AiSinai. Aarti Sarwal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
Reposted with permission from The Conversation.
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By Jake Johnson
Unity Task Forces formed by presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled sweeping party platform recommendations Wednesday that—while falling short of progressive ambitions in a number of areas, from climate to healthcare—were applauded as important steps toward a bold and just policy agenda that matches the severity of the moment.
"We've moved the needle a lot, especially on environmental justice and upping Biden's ambition," said Sunrise Movement co-founder and executive director Varshini Prakash, a member of the Biden-Sanders Climate Task Force. "But there's still more work to do to push Democrats to act at the scale of the climate crisis."
The climate panel—co-chaired by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and former Secretary of State John Kerry—recommended that the Democratic Party commit to "eliminating carbon pollution from power plants by 2035," massively expanding investments in clean energy sources, and "achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for all new buildings by 2030."
In a series of tweets Wednesday night, Ocasio-Cortez—the lead sponsor of the House Green New Deal resolution—noted that the Climate Task Force "shaved 15 years off Biden's previous target for 100% clean energy."
"Of course, like in any collaborative effort, there are areas of negotiation and compromise," said the New York Democrat. "But I do believe that the Climate Task Force effort meaningfully and substantively improved Biden's positions."
Today the 6 Biden-Sanders Unity Task Forces are unveiling final language. The Climate Task Force accomplished a gr… https://t.co/gz3broq2qe— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez)1594240617.0
The 110 pages of policy recommendations from the six eight-person Unity Task Forces on education, the economy, criminal justice, immigration, climate change, and healthcare are aimed at shaping negotiations over the 2020 Democratic platform at the party's convention next month.
Sanders said that while the "end result isn't what I or my supporters would've written alone, the task forces have created a good policy blueprint that will move this country in a much-needed progressive direction and substantially improve the lives of working families throughout our country."
"I look forward to working with Vice President Biden to help him win this campaign," the Vermont senator added, "and to move this country forward toward economic, racial, social, and environmental justice."
Biden, for his part, applauded the task forces "for helping build a bold, transformative platform for our party and for our country."
"I am deeply grateful to Bernie Sanders for working with us to unite our party and deliver real, lasting change for generations to come," said the former vice president.
On the life-or-death matter of reforming America's dysfunctional private health insurance system—a subject on which Sanders and Biden clashed repeatedly throughout the Democratic primary process—the Unity Task Force affirmed healthcare as "a right" but did not embrace Medicare for All, the signature policy plank of the Vermont senator's presidential bid.
Instead, the panel recommended building on the Affordable Care Act by establishing a public option, investing in community health centers, and lowering prescription drug costs by allowing the federal government to negotiate prices. The task force also endorsed making all Covid-19 testing, treatments, and potential vaccines free and expanding Medicaid for the duration of the pandemic.
"It has always been a crisis that tens of millions of Americans have no or inadequate health insurance—but in a pandemic, it's potentially catastrophic for public health," the task force wrote.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, a former Michigan gubernatorial candidate and Sanders-appointed member of the Healthcare Task Force, said that despite major disagreements, the panel "came to recommendations that will yield one of the most progressive Democratic campaign platforms in history—though we have further yet to go."
We rein in #pharma's greed by: 1) Allowing Medicare to FINALLY negotiate Rx drugs FOR ALL AMERICANS 2) Using Rx d… https://t.co/6k9iUCLMp7— Abdul El-Sayed (@Abdul El-Sayed)1594238411.0
Observers and advocacy groups also applauded the Unity Task Forces for recommending the creation of a postal banking system, endorsing a ban on for-profit charter schools, ending the use of private prisons, and imposing a 100-day moratorium on deportations "while conducting a full-scale study on current practices to develop recommendations for transforming enforcement policies and practices at ICE and CBP."
Marisa Franco, director of immigrant rights group Mijente, said in a statement that "going into these task force negotiations, we knew we were going to have to push Biden past his comfort zone, both to reconcile with past offenses and to carve a new path forward."
"That is exactly what we did, unapologetically," said Franco, a member of the Immigration Task Force. "For years, Mijente, along with the broader immigrant rights movement, has fought to reshape the narrative around immigration towards racial justice and to focus these very demands. We expect Biden and the Democratic Party to implement them in their entirety."
"There is no going back," Franco added. "Not an inch, not a step. We must only move forward from here."
Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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