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What To Do If You Catch The "Stomach" Flu
by Dr Joseph Mercola


One of the most disabling and uncomfortable conditions to come down with is the "stomach" flu. But this condition that we associate with vomiting and diarrhea really isn't the flu at all. In fact, "stomach flu" is the typical lay term for a condition that is actually caused by a virus.

A number of different viruses cause diarrhea and other stomach ailments, of which the most important is the family of rotaviruses.

Rotavirus has been estimated to cause from 30 percent to 50 percent of all cases of severe diarrhea disease. But aside from making life miserable, it can actually kill you. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States alone, some 55,000 children are hospitalized due to rotavirus every year, and 600,000 children worldwide die each year, particularly in developing countries where nutrition is poor, as a result.

In fact, in Asia, Africa and Latin America, viruses like the rotavirus are responsible for millions of deaths among children under 4 every year.

Gastroenteritis in the United States
Each year, more than 3.5 million infants develop acute viral gastroenteritis, resulting in more than 500,000 office visits, 55,000 hospitalizations and 30 deaths. Statistics on sporadic cases of adult viral gastroenteritis are not known; however, food-borne and water-borne epidemics of viral gastroenteritis are common.

The CDC estimates that viruses cause 9.2 million (out of a total of 13.8 million from all causes) cases of food-related illness each year.

What Are the Symptoms of Viral Gastroenteritis?
The main symptoms of viral gastroenteritis are watery diarrhea, vomiting and nausea. The affected person may also have:
Headache
Fever
Abdominal cramps ("stomach ache")
Cough
Runny Nose
In general, the symptoms begin one to two days following infection with a virus that causes gastroenteritis and may last for one to 10 days, depending on which virus causes the illness.

What Can You do For Treatment?
Since gastroenteritis is a viral illness, conventional medicine has no surefire tricks like antibiotics that only work for bacterial infections. The key conventional approach, and it is a vitally important one, is to make sure you don't become dehydrated, as that can cause serious problems, and as noted above, even death.
So, if any of the following therapies do not work you really need to go to the emergency room. This condition can truly be a killer and the solution is very simple: IV rehydration will keep you alive until your body is able to clear the viral infection.

However, I have treated many patients with the following simple protocol.
The first principle is that if you have thrown up you need to put your stomach at complete rest for at least three hours. That means absolutely nothing to eat or drink, including no water nor the old wives' tale favorite, crackers.

Once three hours have passed and no further vomiting has occurred then small amounts of water can be sipped slowly. Do this for one to two hours and if that is tolerated then you are ready for the "cure." What is the "cure"?

Massive amounts of a high-quality probiotic. You can go to your local health food store and get a high-quality brand (ask a knowledgeable store employee if you're not sure which brand to choose), then take large doses every 30 to 60 minutes until you feel better. By large doses I mean finish the entire bottle in 24 hours if necessary. It usually won't be necessary, though, as most people seem to improve within several hours after following the above instructions.

I would not recommend using Primal Defense for this purpose, as most people cannot tolerate the high doses required, and it typically does not work as well as lactobacillus strains. I would also avoid hyper-expensive brands like Trenev Trio. These can cost over $100 and don't seem to provide any additional benefits over the less expensive version.

What's even better than the high-dose probiotics? Raw milk kefir. Unfortunately, most people will not have access to this miracle food. Please notice I said RAW milk kefir, avoid commercial pasteurized kefir as it will actually make you worse.

If you have the luxury of selecting the animal you get your milk from, the best milk is sheep, followed by goat, and then cow's milk. You can actually make your own incredibly healthy kefir, provided you have access to raw milk.

You can also consider adding raw honey if the symptoms persist more than a few hours after starting the probiotics, as that will do wonders to calm the inflammation in the stomach. Again, it's very important to find RAW honey, as the typical commercial varieties will not have the same beneficial effect.

Some health food stores carry raw honey, or you can seek a source straight from a local farm or food co-op.
www.mercola.com
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