No one wishes the stomach flu on their worst enemy. It can leave you bedridden and debilitated and put you out of commission for days at a time. Not to mention it can leave you severely dehydrated!

In order to avoid the stomach flu, it’s important to understand how one contracts it and what exactly causes this virus to occur.


1. How Does One Contract the Stomach Flu?

woman holding her stomach

marketing tbrc/Flickr

The stomach flu, also known as viral gastroenteritis, is the second most common illness in the United States. When one contracts gastroenteritis, the lining of the intestines becomes inflamed due to an invading bacteria, virus, or parasite and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, headache, and chills. It essentially is an infection of the intestines.

There are two main viruses that are the primary culprits for the contraction of viral gastroenteritis. They are:

  1. Rotavirus typically occurs in infants and children and causes inflammation to the stomach lining, aka gastroenteritis. The symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain. Those infected may need to seek hospitalization for sever dehydration if the virus last for multiple days. Rotavirus can be contracted if a child puts something contaminated with the virus into his or her mouth.
  2. Norovirus is extremely contagious and causes vomiting and diarrhea. It can be spread through contaminated food and water, or transmitted from an infected person.

The reason people get the stomach flu is because they have come into contact with contaminated beverages or food items, or have crossed paths with someone infected with one of the above viruses.


2. How to Avoid It

Hand sanitizer

CDDEP Communications/Flickr

Here are some helpful tips for avoiding the stomach flu!

  1. Avoid contact with anyone who has symptoms of the stomach flu. If you must be around that person, be sure to not share utensils, glasses, or dishes with that person.
  2. Wash your hands! Before you eat or drink, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with an antibacterial soap. You never know what you’ve come in contact with.
  3. If someone you share a home with becomes infected with the stomach flu, be sure to disinfect all shared surfaces. This includes door knobs, telephones, faucets, counters, and keyboards.

The best advice is to trust your gut. If you believe someone to have the stomach flu, keep your distance and be sure to not share any food or beverages with that person!

3. Foods and Beverages to Quell Stomach Flu Symptoms


Phuoc Nguyen/Flickr


Sometimes you inevitably find yourself with the stomach bug, even if you’ve done everything in your power to avoid it. Besides keeping yourself hydrated with water and drinks filled with electrolytes like coconut water, there are some additional foods and beverages to quell your stomach troubles. The best foods for the stomach flu are:

  1. Bananas contain high levels of potassium which can help replenish nutrients lost from vomiting.
  2. Rice is bland and easy to digest, two components which make it perfect to eat when you’re feeling nauseous.
  3. Applesauce is binding and makes your stools firm.
  4. Toast is also bland and binding.
  5. Ginger can be consumed as a tea when feeling nauseous. It has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can also aid with digestion and properly remedy nausea.
  6. Caffeine-free teas can help replace lost fluids when you have the stomach flu. Specific teas like peppermint may be especially helpful because it has been known to calm the stomach. When dealing with the stomach flu, try to avoid caffeine because it can act as a diuretic, causing you to lose even more fluids.
  7. Vegetable broth is rich in minerals which makes it especially useful for providing your body the proper nutrients needed to fight off a virus. It is also very comforting and easy on the stomach.
  8. Sweet potatoes are loaded with complex carbohydrates which can soak up toxins in the digestive tract.

4. Soothe your Tummy with these Vegan Recipes!

Cream of Wild Rice Soup/One Green Planet

When you come down with the stomach bug, feel free to try some of these recipes from our Food Monster App to ease the pain. Preferably, have a loved one make these for you, so you can stay in bed and get better!

Recipes like these Cinnamon Turmeric Sweet Potatoes, Creamy Ginger, Carrot, and Sweet Potato Soup, Wild Rice Pilaf, Mushroom Vegetable Broth, Homemade Applesauce, or this Bananas Foster Toast are excellent for a troubled stomach!

For more like Manage Nausea and Upset Stomach with these Natural Options, we recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out! 

Lead Image: Shutterstock