Please excuse my interrupting the Out of Africa series – some of my favorite memories, and I think, some of my strongest writing, to bring you this important message. Out of Africa II will be posted for you on Tuesday, but in the meantime… I was in the midst of serving dinner to my clients Wednesday night when I saw Tatjana’s name pop up as my cellphone began ringing. Now 7:30PM PST meant middle of the night for Tatjana, so I knew there was an emergency of some sort. Her boyfriend, Aaron had been violently ill all night, and she wanted tummy bug advice.

The Out of Africa blog post series

The Out of Africa blog post series

I’m not a doctor, so please do consult yours if you are sick, but here are some general useful tips from someone who has suffered with stomach problems for years (I have Crohn’s colitis):

1). The most important thing is to rehydrate (and I do not mean with alcohol) – your electrolytes can get dangerously low, so drink as much water or Gatorade (athletes use it to replenish their electrolytes) as you can keep down, even if it is sip by sip. Gulping will most likely have an undesired effect. See the recipe below for how to make your own electrolyte water, if you’re too ill to go to the store. Most households will already have the ingredients on hand.

2). The most common question I get is “what should I eat when I have stomach flu?”  My advice is to listen to your body. It will tell you when it is ready to try something solid, but start with very small portions, eat slowly, and stick to soft, bland foods to avoid irritating the lining of your stomach further. I usually start with a little chicken or vegetable broth, Greek yogurt is good for lining your stomach while adding back in some of the good bacteria you’ve lost, and saltine crackers seem to help settle my tummy. If I’m successful at keeping that down, I will try a little toast and maybe some scrambled egg.

Eat a little scrambled egg and toast when you feel strong enough

Eat a little scrambled egg and toast when you feel strong enough

3). If your stomach cramps are causing you acute pain, and I say “if acute” because pills can be irritating to your stomach as well, stick to the recommended dose of Tylenol. It’s easiest on the stomach and does not require you to take it with food. If you use aspirin or other analgesics, be sure to take with food to avoid upsetting your tummy more.

4). Plenty of rest and giving your body time to fight it off is the only other thing you can do. Stomach flu is a virus, so antibiotics would be ineffective and just deplete more of the good bacteria you need to fight the illness.

None of this for now!

None of this for now!

5). Avoid giving it to others. Wash your hands frequently, and try to avoid any unnecessary contact with others (no smooching for now guys).

Electrolyte Recipe

This recipe is from My pediatrician gave this to my Mom at least ’30-something’ years ago. It is supposed to help reduce high fevers, vomiting and settle upset tummies. Gingerale still reminds me of being sick and stuck in bed all day with my comic books. Read more at here.


Servings: 12

1 quart warm water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons orange juice
ginger ale or Coke

1). Mix all the ingredients except gingerale or coke.
2). When ready to drink, mix 1 ounce of electrolyte with 1 ounce of gingerale or coke.
3). Give this every hour for up to 10 to 12 doses per day.
4). Keep unused portion refrigerated. Keep gingerale or coke at room temperature.
5). Disclaimer: Of course if there is an abnormally high temperature or if it persists more than a day or two, consult a physician.

What home remedies and tips do you have?

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  • March 15, 2013
    10:09 am

    I’ve heard that it is best to follow what is called “The Brat” diet -Bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast… BTW: happy belated birthday! -(we share the same birth date):)
    A fellow Piscean -(who is now trying to avoid the stomach bug that is making it’s way through my office)!

    • March 15, 2013
      2:10 pm

      Hey Renee – try Rachel’s suggestion of grape juice to help ward of the germs. Can’t hurt any how, and yes the diet you suggest works well too. I think our bodies will let us know when and what it wants, if we stay tuned-into them.

  • March 15, 2013
    11:27 am

    All great tips! I recently had the stomach flu and boy oh boy that stuff is MISERABLE. One tip I always share is to avoid taking anti-nausea medicines, unless instructed otherwise by a medical professional. My uncle is a pharmacist and he has drilled into me that when you’re vomiting (or experiencing results on the other end) your body NEEDS to reject something. Don’t stop the process. Get it out. It may just be my optimistic outlook, but it seems to me that the worse the flu is, the faster it passes. Feeling mid-grade discomfort can linger for weaks, but usually these hard hitting bugs come and go in 24 to 48 hours. I hope that’s the case for Aaron and that he’s on the mend… 🙂

    • March 15, 2013
      2:08 pm

      Wise point Kim, and I agree with both you and your uncle, although being sick is such a horrible sensation that I always try to fight it.

  • March 15, 2013
    12:22 pm

    Fantastic advice. I hope he’s feeling better quickly… it’s a horrible feeling. I did see on Pintrest that drinking 100% grapejuice every day … just a small glasss… and more if you hear the tummy flu is around… can prevent it. I’ve tried it this year and so far so good.

    I hope Tatjana had luck with her caring duties. Men tend to be a bit hard to treat when they’re ill 😉

    • March 15, 2013
      2:05 pm

      Great to know Rachel! I’ll tell Tatjana to down the grape juice right away!

    • March 16, 2013
      5:32 pm

      Hey Rach, would that be the white or purple grape juice? Maybe it doesn’t matter, but I would sure like to pick some up next week and start using it. Far better to be rocking the proactive than the reactive approaches!

      • March 18, 2013
        7:31 am

        Purple Grape juice. The Welches 100% pure original kind 🙂

      • March 18, 2013
        8:01 am

        I LOVED that stuff as a kid, and probably would have faked being ill just so I could have more of it, if I’d known.

  • March 15, 2013
    2:04 pm

    So miserable. I hope he feels better soon. And it sounds like he has a real flu (not the “man flu” that Rachel is talking about! Any woman in a relationship has had to deal with that one!)

    And ginger ale or warm, semi-flat coke reminds me of being sick as a kid.

    • March 15, 2013
      2:13 pm

      Yep, me too.

  • March 15, 2013
    6:52 pm

    i had the stomach flew quite a few years back & i had it very rough..
    i had it for 3 days straight on & off..i was litterally bent over double..
    i 1st started off by throwing up what i had in my stomach that day there..but anything after that..Oh boy!!!! was i in for a rough ride..i was in the bathroom getting sick half an hour,after that came the case of the dry heaves.. 🙁 not good espeicially when you start getting red dots all over the back of the neck,face..i dry heaved almost everyday off & on & could not Litterally Nothing..& i mean Nothing down..i tried crackers,todellers amount of gatorade..@ least within half hour of eating crackers,& nope..i ran the the bathroom with bucket in hand..i was so bent over double i slept that way too..due to loss of body heat,then when i woke up i was sore as heck as if i been pushed down a flight of stairs..i hurt everywhere because i was tensed up from getting sick with the stomach flue..i couldn`t walk straight,sleep straight,nothing..All in All..i don`t wish this upon`s pure hell the the abdomen was bruised on top of that..nothing the doc could do,but to let the virus run it`s course..good luck to others with you recipe,i will 100% keep it in mind & tell them all about you..Jullie Anne..your the best.. <3 ty.. 🙂

  • March 16, 2013
    7:23 am

    Monique – I know exactly how awful you felt. What you describe is very similar to what living with Crohn’s disease is like. I was house bound, usually in the fetal position with pain when not running to the loo (for nearly four years) until thankfully I was lucky enough to find the right lifestyle changes and a drug that put me into remission. I know people who struggle with these symptoms every day of their lives. It’s a miserable condition to live with whether for a few days with gastroenteritis, or indefinitely with an IBS.

    • March 17, 2013
      9:14 pm

      Oh woooooweeeee i was so excited when i seen you wrote back,,woohooo it actually made my day..that is sooo cool..hee,hee,,ty again for the reply,i am so going to have to put a pic in my profile pic..not sure why i didn`t put one up before..Big Hugs to ya..(by the many days did aaron have the stomach flue for (in days that is)..

  • March 16, 2013
    8:42 am

    I’m reading this after being down for almost a week with a gastro bug of some type. Not fun! Dizzy head, nauseaus, and all that good stuff were with me since last Sunday. Friday was the first day that I could stand up and get anything done. So, I’m eating Greek yogurt, lighter things like toast, soup and crackers. Afraid I’m not up for a brisket for St. Paddy’s Day, but there’s always another day to enjoy that particular dish. I think I need to do a PCA day with both slow cookers brewing up batches of soup and a slow stew in the oven. Now, if I can manage to go out for groceries, I’ll be in good shape. Did get out to pick up absolute essentials Friday, but would really like to get some fruit and the recommended grape juice. Hope Aaron is feeling better!

    • March 18, 2013
      7:59 am

      Ruthee – is there a friend or relative that could make a grocery run for you? I’d hate for you to go out now – knowing how vulnerable your system is you could risk a relapse. What about a grocery store that delivers? I know they charge extra, but it’s just this once.

      The slow-cooker is a great idea! You won’t have to be upright for very long to get it going, and it will do all the rest of the cooking work for you.

  • March 17, 2013
    4:37 am

    As soon as I started reading this blog my first initial reaction was “oh no”.
    I hope Aaron is feeling a lot better and on the mend. I’m sure Tatjana has and is doing all her best.
    Both my two children have gastroenteritis at the moment. It all started yesterday and is still lingering but not as severe as yesterday. Jack who is 1 took it hard. However, he is a trooper and is bouncing back better than my four year old. Mia is struggling big time. At this very moment I just wish I had their illness and they were 100% fine.
    Ruthee…….I hope you feel better soon. It’s awful I know, but hang in there.
    Julie Anne…….Happy belated Birthday. I hope you had a lovely day.

    • March 18, 2013
      7:56 am

      The good news Aussie Mum is it usually runs it’s course quickly when it is a tummy bug. I think Aaron was on the mend within 48 hours. So sorry to hear your sweet babies have it though – it is miserable, and must be very scary for such little tots. I know that feeling of wishing you could go through it in their place, but I sincerely hope you do not catch it from them – they need you strong and healthy.