To help keep yourself more comfortable and prevent dehydration while you recover, try the following:
- Let your stomach settle. Stop eating solid foods for a few hours.
- Try sucking on ice chips or taking small sips of water. You might also try drinking clear soda clear broths or noncaffeinated sports drinks. Drink plenty of liquid every day, taking small, frequent sips.
- Ease back into eating. Gradually begin to eat bland, easy-to-digest foods such as soda crackers, toast, gelatin, bananas, rice and chicken. Stop eating if your nausea returns.
- Avoid certain foods and substances until you feel better. These include dairy products, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and fatty or highly seasoned foods.
- Get plenty of rest. The illness and dehydration may have made you weak and tired.
- Be cautious with medications. Use medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) sparingly if at all. They can make your stomach more upset. Use acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) cautiously; it sometimes can cause liver toxicity, especially in children.
For infants and children
When your child has an intestinal infection, the most important goal is to replace lost fluids and salts. These suggestions may help:
- Help your child rehydrate. Give your child an oral rehydration solution, available at pharmacies without a prescription. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how to use it. Don't give your child plain water — in children with gastroenteritis, water isn't absorbed well and won't adequately replace lost electrolytes. Avoid giving your child apple juice for rehydration — it can make diarrhea worse.
- Get back to a normal diet slowly. Gradually introduce bland, easy-to-digest foods, such as toast, rice, bananas and potatoes.
- Avoid certain foods. Don't give your child dairy products and sugary foods, such as ice cream, sodas and candy. These can make diarrhea worse.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of rest. The illness and dehydration may have made your child weak and tired.
- Avoid giving your child over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications, unless advised by your doctor. They can make it harder for your child's body to eliminate the virus.
If you have a sick infant, let your baby's stomach rest for 15 to 20 minutes after vomiting or a bout of diarrhea, then offer small amounts of liquid. If you're breast-feeding, let your baby nurse. If your baby is bottle-fed, offer a small amount of an oral rehydration solution or regular formula. Don't dilute your baby's already-prepared formula.
Jun. 11, 2013
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed March 20. 2013.
- Viral gastroenteritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/faq.htm. Accessed March 20, 2013.
- Viral gastroenteritis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/viralgastroenteritis/index.htm. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Yen C, et al. Rotovirus vaccines: Update on global impact and future priorities. Human Vaccines. 2011;7:1282.
- Koo HL, et al. Noroviruses: The principal cause of foodborne disease worldwide. Discovery Medicine. 2010;10:61.
- Norovirus for healthcare professionals. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/hcp/index.html. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, et al. Prevention of rotavirus gastroenteritis among infants and children recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR. 2009;58:1. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5802a1.htm. Accessed March 20, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.