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Stomach Flu--What to Drink? Nibble?

The horrible stomach flu has struck our household. Other than Coca cola (which I remember from my childhood as a stomach-soother), what is best to give to an eruptive gut very, very sparingly?

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  1. sometimes it helps to have nothing for 12 hours, if everything seems to be coming up. however, flat/warm gingerale I think works best when you decide to start. but definitely sip whatever you try over time, do not take too much at once as the stomach can't handle it & will reject it. Then I'd move on to jello.

    1. Ginger candies! My husband had this last week and it was suggested that Ginger candy would make him feel better. And it really worked. The brand we used was Reed's Ginger Candy.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chickstein

        Absolutely! I was under the weather last week adn most of this one. I got Ginger People Chews and some of their just plain crystalized ginger. It settles a stomach quickly. For my dogs I often give them ginger in cheese if they are showing signs of getting car sick on a trip.

      2. As kids we always did golden gingerale. Nowadays, we give the kids pedialyte or gator ade to replenish the nutriants and to avoid dehydration. I also agree that jello soothing and easy on the stomach. My kids like the frozen pops. Rest and get well!

        1. I'd suggest Gatorade over Coke (your going to want to rehydrate). Then keep it very simple: jello, gummy bears, broth, plain rice, etc... Avoid dairy, spices, citrus, etc...

          I've had A LOT of stomach problems in the past, so this is almost my forte (sad thing to brag about, I know). You might want to have some Coke but I wouldn't suggest drinking a lot of it as it is so acidic and might lead to more dehydration than you're already experiencing. I can't stress Gatorade (if you have little ones, there's a kiddie rehydrant too but I can't remember the name Pedia-something?) enough.

          1. another vote for ginger ale...also I find that ice cream/gelato really helps settle my stomach...

            1 Reply
            1. re: fauchon

              Ha! - someone else who finds gelato soothing after upset stomach. I don't care for full-fat ice cream (when flu-y), but I really do find gelato or sherbert soothing.

              Otherwise, can't beat the classics (as everyone else instructed): ginger ale, saltines.

            2. The Indonesian ginger candy Ting Ting Jahe has gotten us through much queasitude.

              1. In our house Ramen Noodles are ussually the first meal after the bug. Simple to make and consisting of not much more than salt and noodles. Nothing there to upset the stomach.

                1. some druggists still carry coke syrup, although ginger ale (try having it not so cold,, sans ice) might also help. Saltine crackers. Maybe potato chips, if they're not too greasy.

                  1. Wanted to add that if you are regular caffeine consumers you'll want some coke or something so you don't add a whopping headache to the mix. This was a lesson learned that I'll never forget.

                    nothing to add re food ideas, we do candied ginger, toast, jello, warm broth, saltines, popcicles (or frozen gatorade or = ), ginger ale, coke, hot tea.

                    Hope you're all feeling much better very soon!

                    1. Actually, stay away from Gatorade, sodas and juices for the first 24 hours (they all contain too much sugar which make people feel worse). Try a gastrolyte, pedialyte or use the WHO field substitute:

                      Mix 2 tablespoons of sugar (or honey) with 1 teaspoon of table salt and 1 teaspoon of baking soda. (Baking soda may be substituted with 1 teaspoon of table salt.) Mix in 1 liter (1 qt) of clean or previously boiled water.

                      Drinks should be sipped, not gulped. Aim for 1 drink every 15 minutes (this is from the hospital but it never works that way).

                      Be careful about water consumption the first few days - too much can cause seizures due to the loss of electrolytes.

                      If the person feels like eating, try the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast - dry). Do not eat any dairy products for 3 days after the symptoms have ceased.

                      For the caregiver - consider alternate sleeping arrangements if your spouse is sick and use a different bathroom than those who are sick. Use gloves and a mild bleach solution to clean the house (depending on what is causing the gastro-enteritis the person could be infectious anywhere from 2 hours to 48 hours before symptoms show). Quarantine sick people to their bedrooms and the bathroom (boring but it keeps the bleaching routine to a minimum). Wash your hands frequently and give everyone a refresher on how to wash their hands (lots of soap and friction, sing happy birthday twice then rinse). Do not prepare foods until you know that you're not infected (or you'll just re-infect everyone).

                      Good luck!

                      1. Agree with nothing for first 12 hrs. except Ginger Ale, 7 up, etc...The crackers and/or baked potato without a lot of butter, sour cream...My son just had this last week

                        1. Thank you everyone. I do have a 2 liter bottle of ginger ale at home. I also have some ginger marmalade which I might try on toast tonight/tomorrow. I am the "wellest" one at home....or just the least whiny....not sure which. I just very gingerly (no pun) sipped a half can of coke about an hour ago. nothing evil happening yet. Thanks again.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: thegolferbitch

                            Wow, Cott's Golden Ginger Ale, now that takes me back! "It's Cott to be good!" Both my Mother & Grandmother, basically our whole extended Irish family, swore by it. Enough about me, we wish you a speedy recovery. Being an under the weather mom surely carries extra burdens with it :-)

                            1. re: Harp00n

                              Cott and Fanta and Shasta....what the heck happened to the soda of our youth? Actually, I am childless Harp00n except for my flatulent dog...but we had aunties visiting who I swear brought the plague upon us. I do feel like myself today....thank you! Wow...Cott soda. And Moxie. urg.

                          2. Sorry bout this flu gb, just mentioned you on another thread. Try popsicles, not the sugar free kind, the kind with sugar at least fruit sugar. others have mentioned better ideas.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: onlytwomuses

                              I agree with the Coke, ginger ale, and full-sugar popsicle suggestions...helped me a couple of months ago! Feel better!

                            2. I just had it earlier this week and couldn't think of putting a single thing on my stomach for over 12 hours. (Of course, most of those hours were spent emptying my stomach of everything, including its inner lining, I think!)

                              I was dehydrated and finally managed a 1/2 popsicle (didn't stay down long but long enough to make me feel slightly rehydrated).

                              A few hours after that, just popsicles & jello, gingerale (flat), a piece of dry toast, and then finally that evening a very little bit of plain rice and chicken noodle soup.

                              I'm still not up to snuff and hardly feel like eating anything much beyond what I mentioned above.

                              The BRAT diet and other suggestions mentioned by Librarian http://www.chowhound.com/topics/37136... are sound. They are beyond the "this is what I like when I'm sick" and in the vein of what medical advisors will tell you.

                              I have always used BRAT in conjunction with ... the other end of the digestive bug from what I had this week.

                              1. Peppermint tea will really help.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: hungrydyke

                                  Hey to all who suggested this.....hungrydyke, I got this Celestial seasonings sampler for christmas and you know, the peppermint tea did help. I don't know if it was the tea, or the scent which is so calming too...

                                2. when i was a kid, and after i could hold down some toast, my mom gave me a little bit of pastene and butter. i still do that as a grown-up.

                                  p.s. lol, i've always hated bananas and rice.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                                    I now am reminded of grandma's pastene! It seemed to heal everything.

                                  2. as a kid my mom always gave me flat 7up and saltines, (I still use her "remedies" as an adult)

                                    if you are losing a lot of fluids (throwing up or problems with the other end) I've heard pedialyte works well (for adults as well as babies)

                                    1. Chamomile tea or peppermint tea are soothing if you are feeling queasy. Gatorade also settles my stomach (the plain lemon lime flavor).

                                      Sipping gatorade and nibbling saltines is the best way to recover. Then move onto toast. It's usually a couple of days before I can eat a meal. Avoid salads and dairy products for the first couple of days, as well as anything fatty or rich.

                                      1. Reed's ginger candy---it can be dissolved in hot water then poured over cracked ice.
                                        It Will help!!!!!

                                        1. I always found Coca-Cola syrup to be far better at calming my tummy than a drink of Coke.

                                          Other things I've found effective for me include:
                                          Propel nutrient water
                                          Peppermint tea (not too hot)
                                          Chamomile tea (not too hot)
                                          Ginger ale (room temp)
                                          Ginger hard candies

                                          For some reason, the first protein I crave after a bad tummy episode is a bit of baked or grilled chicken, shredded. I can always get someone to swing by Wendy's or Boston Market
                                          or some other restaurant to get me baked or grilled chicken. The next thing I seem to crave is a bit of egg drop soup.

                                          1. Gingerale, a bit flat and not too cold. Chamomile or peppermint tea.

                                            Once you feel a bit better, saltines, jello, dry toast, chicken broth, white rice.

                                            1. Ack! I just recovered from this myself as DH suffered through the resp flu. Before getting the stomach flu I had made chicken soup for DH and bought a few bottles of gatorade. Day 1: diluted gatorade. If I can handle it later in the day broth and crackers. Day 2: if stomach is still touchy, toast or rice, more gatorade. When hunger resumes I have a slice or two of cheese thin crust pizza light on the cheese. It is a weird transition food but it works for me. It worked for DH too because he was getting tired of soup.

                                              1. Any fennel seeds in the old spice rack? Brew some fennel tea for queasiness. Yes also to chamomile.
                                                Sometimes I think ginger ale works through faith alone, powered by childhood memories. So what - it works. A few years ago, recovering from a major intestinal illness, I found some Jamaican brand of extra strong ginger ale and swore by it.

                                                1. Good old Classic Coca-Cola (in sips!) as always been the only thing that worked for me. However it is proven that ginger is a wonderful thing for the stomach gone wrong. When my stomach is "tense" I actually chew on a 50 cent piece size of peeled raw ginger...did that today in fact, but i don't know how that would work if you are in the throws of a stomach bug...might be a bit much.

                                                  1. We had it a week and a half ago...ginger ale and saltines, eventually jell-o. Adirondack is a nice brand (of ginger ale) I've only seen in some MA groceries, discovered when a friend brought it to me during a sick bout years ago.

                                                    The posts about ginger candy reminded me of the candies/lollipops made for morning sickness -- PregoPops or somesuch. I bet they'd ease a stomach upset by bug, too.

                                                    Since your OP was a few days ago, I hope you're feeling better now! We took turns, but no one was down more than 2 days. (~1 day sick, 1 day just flat wiped out)

                                                    1. The key to drinking ginger ale for an upset stomach is to make sure it actually HAS ginger in it. Many ginger ales don't any more.

                                                      1. In addition to the classics - gingerale, saltines - I would add chicken bouillion & dry toast. Although I'm not a tea drinker, I've been told that peppermint tea soothes the stomach.

                                                        1. My tai-chi instructor suggested this to our class not long ago. Sounds weird, but he swears that it works. After the first or second time you have emptied your stomach, drink the liquid from a can on peaches in heavy syrup. He says that the bug goes with the stomach contents and the remaining sickness is reflexive. The sugary peach syrup changes the chemistry in the stomach.
                                                          I haven't been sick and am looking for anyone else who has heard of this treatment.
                                                          Hope you and your family is feeling better.

                                                          1. Hello! I know this was asked many years ago but for future reference I have some advice. For the first day of the stomach bug only drink water (but only take sips) and nibble on crackers suck as saltines, or triscuts. They seem to help me. If you vomit (you probably will) keep in mind it doesn't mean you are getting worse it means the body is emptying out the germs inside of you that caused the stomach bug in the first place. Remember to wait 30-60 minutes after you have vomited to eat/drink anything else. Remember to get a lot of sleep and see if you recover in the morning. On the 2nd day if you still haven't recovered, on this day you should probably start eating foods suck as dry toast with nothing on it but maybe a little butter. You should also drink sodas suck as ginger-ale (ginger soothes the stomach) and 7up. Any other lemon-lime flavored sodas (sprite, sierra mist, etc.) will also help soothe the stomach. Dry rice and chicken broth also really seems to help me. But don't eat to much or else it will cause you to vomit. If you vomited after eating/drinking these foods/drinks stop eating them and wait 60 mins to resume eating them. Applesauce with no cinnamon really helps but remember to eat it slowly. Jello helps so much. Eat one tb of Jello every 15 minutes and relax in your bed or on the couch. Popsicles and lollipops really help balance out your blood sugar and you normally don't barf from these foods. You definitely shouldn't eat all these foods in one day but eat the foods/drinks that help soothe your stomach and avoid ones you wouldn't eat on a regular basis. Also get lots of sleep. On the 3rd day you should move on to toast with butter but not to much. If you are feeling confident and you haven't vomited in a while and a little honey or jam to your toast. You should also keep on eating/drinking the foods you ate/drank on day 2 that helped you. You may want to start eating foods like chicken/fish but if you have vomited that day you should avoid those foods. Get LOTS of rest because while your body is resting your stomach well be able to fight off more germs in your stomach then they would when you were awake and moving around. Most stomachaches are usually 24-72 hours long but if you still have the flu on the 4th, 5th, 6th or etc. then you should seek medical attention. :). My sister is a doctor and I got most of this advice from her so I think it will help you a lot. Some things to do to avoid the stomachache is to always wash your hands, don't put your fingers to your mouth, eat normally and don't eat to much sugar, don't share your drinks or food with other people, don't touch things that have lots of germs on them such as toilet seats and germy objects. Obviously you can touch a toilet seat while you are using the bathroom just don't touch your hands to the seat and put your hands to your mouth. ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS AFTER USING THE BATHROOM! Oh and I forgot to tell you not to move around a lot while you have the stomach bug because it makes it harder for your body to fight off the germs inside you and the germs inside you get more active and make you feel worse. Also moving around might cause you to vomit. Well I hope I helped you for future reference and if anyone needs any medical related help ask me because I can ask my sister who is a doctor. Thank you for reading and I hope this small article helped a lot of people :). Stay healthy! -Ella <3