Over the past week, there have been increasing reports of a viral gastro outbreak in Cape Town. Gastro is a stomach flu, and symptoms range from mild to severe and include: nausea, fever, diarrhoea, and general aches and pains. All and all, it’s not nice! And while there is unfortunately no cure for stomach flu (besides not getting it in the first place), here’s what you can do to help relieve nasty symptoms.
- Rest as much as you can. Your body needs rest in order to fight off the virus and replenish energy levels, so get plenty of sleep and avoid doing unnecessary work or activities.
- Stay hydrated. Keep drinking plenty of fluids, especially if you have a fever or are vomiting. It’s very easy to become dehydrated when you have stomach flu. Clear liquids, such as water and broth, are best. If you can’t keep anything down, try taking smaller sips at regular intervals. You should also avoid coffee, alcohol, caffeinated tea and fizzy drinks as, these drinks can upset your stomach even more.
- Eat plain, bland food. If you can eat a little bit, stick to plain, bland food like crackers, toast, rice and potatoes. Bananas and fresh apples, in moderation, can also help with diarrhoea. Avoid eating foods which are spicy, fatty or contain dairy –these are common culprits when it comes to aggravating your stomach, and they can make symptoms worse.
- General aches and pains. You can take over the counter ibuprofen to help ease aches, pains and fever. If you’re unsure about what medication to take, talk to your doctor first – they’ll be able to give you advice based on your symptoms.
- Can I prevent stomach flu? The easiest way to avoid getting the stomach flu (and illness in general) is to wash your hands regularly.