Stomach Flu Treatment
Treatment for viral gastroenteritis includes rest, a clear liquid diet, and medications for diarrhea and vomiting. A clear liquid diet should be continued until the diarrhea resolves. Most cases of viral gastroenteritis resolve within 5 days. Severe cases of viral gastroenteritis can cause dehydration, which may require treatment with intravenous (IV) fluids in the hospital.
Specific treatment for viral gastroenteritis may include:
- Oral rehydration therapy for older children and adults:
- Drink clear liquids only, such as water, sports drinks (best), fruit juice and dilute tea.
- Drink small quantities of fluids frequently, such as 2 tablespoons of fluid every 5 minutes.
- The absence of food allows the intestines to rest.
- May be able to advance to full liquid diet once symptoms improve
- Effective to treat mild to moderate dehydration
- Intravenous fluids for severe dehydration
- Medications for nausea and vomiting:
- Medications for severe diarrhea:
- Acetaminophen for pain and fever
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications for pain:
For more information:
Stomach Flu Questions For Doctor
The following are some important questions to ask before and after the treatment of viral gastroenteritis.
Questions to ask before treatment:
- What are my treatment options?
- What are the risks associated with treatment?
- Do I need to stay in the hospital?
- How long will I be in the hospital?
- Am I contagious?
- For how long?
- What are the complications I should watch for?
- How do I avoid passing the infection to others?
- How long will I be on medication?
- What are the potential side effects of my medication?
- Does my medication interact with nonprescription medicines or supplements?
- Should I take my medication with food?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Are there any medications or supplements I should avoid?
- When can I resume my normal activities?
- When can I return to work or school?
- What else can I do to reduce my risk for having viral gastroenteritis again?
- Will I need to see my doctor for a checkup?
Stomach Flu Specialist
Continue to Stomach Flu Home Care
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- Clark B, McKendrick M. A review of viral gastroenteritis. Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2004 Oct;17(5):461-9. 
- Koopmans M. Outbreaks of viral gastroenteritis: what's new in 2004? Curr Opin Infect Dis. 2005 Aug;18(4):295-9. 
- Lopman BA, Reacher MH, Van Duijnhoven Y, Hanon FX, Brown D, Koopmans M. Viral gastroenteritis outbreaks in Europe, 1995-2000. Emerg Infect Dis. 2003 Jan;9(1):90-6.