Gastroenteritis, also known as stomach flu or gastric flu, is a condition in which the stomach and the small intestine become inflamed due to a viral or bacterial infection.
The primary causes of gastroenteritis are the rotavirus, norovirus, and the bacteria known as Escherichia coli (abbreviated as E. coli) and Campylobacter. There are many other infectious agents can cause it.
Gastroenteritis is a highly contagious disease. Symptoms typically appear within 12 to 48 hours after exposure to the infectious agent and last for 2 to 10 days, depending on the type of infection.
Common symptoms of gastroenteritis include upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, stomach cramps and vomiting. It can also be accompanied by fever, headache, chills, body aches, dry skin and dry mouth.
Anyone can suffer from gastroenteritis, but children are more prone to it due to their weak immune systems.
When suffering from gastroenteritis, it is essential to replenish the body with fluids and electrolytes as the diarrhea and vomiting create an imbalance of electrolytes (salt and minerals) in the body, which causes dehydration.
Dehydration affects the body’s normal functioning and can even delay the healing process. So, drink plenty of water and clear fluids like broths, soups and rice water. Also, get as much rest as possible.
Along with rehydration and rest, you can try some simple and easy home remedies to help treat the problem and reduce the symptoms. It is usually a self-limiting condition that does not require medication.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for gastroenteritis.
Salt contains sodium, which is an electrolyte that can be added to water to prevent dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea. Plus, salt will help fight infection and maintain the pH level of the digestive tract.
- Add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1 liter or 4 cups of filtered water.
- Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and mix well.
- Drink this solution at short intervals throughout the day.
You can also try commercially available electrolyte preparations to balance out electrolytes and prevent dehydration.
Ginger is another very effective remedy for treating gastroenteritis due to its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can prevent and treat stomach infection, and also reduce the frequency of symptoms like watery stools, nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
- Add 1 teaspoon of freshly chopped ginger root to 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain, add honey and sip this tea slowly. Drink this soothing tea 2 or 3 times a day until you feel better.
- You can also prepare ginger ale with fresh ginger and drink it several times a day.
- You can even chew a small piece of fresh ginger root or take ginger capsules to treat gastroenteritis.
Note: People with high blood pressure should avoid ginger remedies.
Being rich in antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, asafetida combats viruses and bacteria and thus helps alleviate the symptoms of gastroenteritis quickly and effectively. Plus, this spice will improve digestion and strengthen the digestive tract.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of asafetida powder to a glass of warm water and stir it well.
- Drink it twice daily for a few days until your condition improves.
To prevent gastroenteritis and other digestive problems, add a little bit of asafetida to curries and food on a regular basis.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar will also help relieve many symptoms of gastroenteritis. It will promote the proper pH level of the stomach and remove harmful toxins from the body.
Plus, being high in pectin, it soothes an irritated stomach and reduces stomach ache, nausea, vomiting and gas.
- Add 1 teaspoon of organic, unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of warm water. Drink it 30 minutes before eating your meal. Follow this on a regular basis until you feel better.
- Alternatively, you can add 1 teaspoon of organic, unfiltered raw apple cider vinegar to a glass of grape juice and drink it twice daily for a few days.
5. Baking Soda
Being a natural antacid, baking soda can neutralize the acid in your stomach, which in turn will help reduce sour stomach and heartburn symptoms of gastroenteritis. Baking soda is also known to reduce vomiting and diarrhea.
- Mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 4 tablespoons of sugar in 1 quart of water.
- Drink it 2 or 3 times a day.
Note: People who have high blood pressure should avoid taking baking soda, which contains sodium.
Basil, which has antispasmodic properties and prevents gastric spasms, is also a good remedy for gastroenteritis. It can make your stomach stronger and prevent many symptoms of gastroenteritis.
- Mix equal amounts of basil juice and ginger juice and have it 2 or 3 times a day to ease stomach pain.
- You can also boil 10 to 15 basil leaves in a cup of water. Drink it with a pinch of rock salt twice daily for a few days.
- You can also drink basil tea with honey a few times a day.