Diarrhea Home > Stomach Flu Cures

Of all the alleged stomach flu cures out there, there is only one true cure -- time. There are no other proven stomach flu cures. Suggestions to help manage the symptoms while the body fights the infection include drinking plenty of fluids, getting lots of rest, and eating bland foods.

Stomach Flu Cures: An Overview

The stomach flu (the medical term is viral gastroenteritis) is caused by a virus, and there is no medicine that will kill the stomach flu virus (antibiotics only work against infections caused by bacteria). Therefore, there is only one stomach flu cure -- time.

The Only Stomach Flu Cure -- Time

Fortunately, in most people with normal immune systems, the body is very effective in killing stomach flu viruses -- it just takes time. For some viruses, like a norovirus, the stomach flu is usually cured in 1 to 2 days. For other stomach flu viruses, such as rotavirus, the symptoms can last for up to 10 days, although it doesn't usually take this long. In most cases, there are no long-term health effects related to the illness.
Stomach flu can be serious when people cannot drink enough fluids to replace what is lost through vomiting and diarrhea -- especially infants, young children, the elderly, and people with weak immune systems.

Suggestions for Reducing Stomach Flu Symptoms

While not stomach flu cures, there are some suggestions that can help reduce stomach flu symptoms as the body fights the infection. These suggestions can include the following:
  • Drink plenty of fluids. Fluids are the most effective stomach flu treatment for preventing dehydration. By drinking fluids, such as oral rehydration fluids (ORF), juice, or water, people can reduce their chances of becoming dehydrated. Sports drinks do not replace the nutrients and minerals lost during this illness. Special fluids used for oral rehydration can be found in most pharmacies or grocery stores and can be purchased without a prescription.
  • Allow your gastrointestinal tract to settle by not eating for a few hours.
  • Sip small amounts of clear liquids or suck on ice chips if vomiting is still a problem.
  • Gradually reintroduce food, starting with bland, easy-to-digest food, like toast, broth, apples, bananas, and rice.
  • Avoid dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete.
  • Get plenty of rest.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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