Gastroenteritis/ Stomach “bug”

Gastroenteritis: What You Need To Know it’s not fun and sucks!!

Stomach “bug” AKA Gastroenteritis

What is gastroenteritis?

The stomach “bug” is usually a sickness caused by a virus which spreads from person to person or through food contamination.  Symptoms usually appear 1 to 2 days after exposure. Symptoms are often mild and usually only last a day or two. You may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Upset Stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Abdominal cramps

Some tips to prevent getting a stomach bug:

food safety guideliens

  • Wash your hands.
  • Don’t share drinks.
  • Do not prepare food for people if you are sick.
  • Throw out refrigerated leftovers once a week to avoid eating spoiled food.
  • Clean surfaces well before preparing food on them.
  • Keep your meats separate from your vegetables when storing them.
  • Cook meat to 160F and maintain at 140F or higher.
  • Thaw meat in the refrigerator or microwave.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within two hours.
  • Don’t put cooked meat on the plate where raw meat was held.

What to do if you get a stomach “bug”:

  • Wait about 30-60 minutes after the last vomiting to try drinking fluids.
  • Sip small amounts of clear liquids frequently. Try ice chips, sips of water, flat ginger ale or 7-up, weak tea, diluted apple juice, Gatorade, clear soups, Jell-O.
  • Let your gastrointestinal tract settle by not eating for several hours. Then start with small amounts of bland, easy-to-digest food:  cooked cereals,  bread or bagel (no butter or margarine), toast with jelly, crackers, plain pasta, pretzels or bread sticks, fruits ( banana, apple, applesauce ), cooked potatoes,  cooked vegetables, eggs, rice, chicken, turkey, baked fish.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Eat small amounts of bland food frequently for 2-3 days to prevent recurrence.
  • Avoid dairy products, greasy or spicy foods, raw vegetables, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete.

Over-the-counter (OTC) medications:

  • Anti diarrheals Preparations of bismuth subsalicylate (e.g., Pepto-Bismol) or Loperamide (Immodium) can reduce the duration and severity of simple diarrhea. These medications should be avoided if you have a high fever or blood in the stools because they may make the illness worse.
  • Pain reliever/fever reducer Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can make you more comfortable. Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) is not recommended as it can cause further stomach upset.

Complications:  Your body needs fluids to function. Diarrhea and vomiting can cause dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration:  excessive thirst, dry mouth, little urine or dark yellow urine, severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness. Mild dehydration can be treated by drinking liquids. Severe dehydration may require intravenous fluids.


  • Stools containing blood or black stools
  • Temperature over 101.5 F for more than 24 hours
  • Prolonged vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than 3 days

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