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Stomach Bug Symptoms and Treatment

How to Beat a Stomach Bug

There are so many unpleasant procedures (think dentist and ob-gyn visits) that seem like a party when compared to the symptoms of a stomach bug. From stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, to the muscle aches, headaches, and fever, these bugs are just dreadful.

Although the actual vomiting element only lasts a day, but sometimes up to three, a stomach virus can leave you feeling tired, achy, and with digestive and intestinal troubles for up to 10 days after. A stomach bug really wrecks a person, and it can take over a week until you begin to eating your normal diet.

Unfortunately the best thing you can do when downed by a virus is let nature take its course and let your body do what it needs to do. You probably won't feel much like eating, so stick to clear fluids such as water, seltzer, ginger ale, ginger tea, and ice chips. If you do feel like eating a little, stick to bland foods like bread, crackers, broth, or white rice. Avoid dairy products, caffeine, and alcohol, since they'll just aggravate your entire digestive system. Rest as much as you can (between visits to the bathroom), and if you're really feeling awful, taking some Pepto Bismol, Tums, or other over-the-counter stomach-easing remedies may help.

You do need to watch out for dehydration caused by losing too many fluids. Not only will dehydration make you feel worse with symptoms including dizziness, dry mouth, and fatigue, but it could also lead to seizures or permanent brain damage if left untreated. Be sure to drink clear fluids often — even popsicles help. Sip small amounts, so they're more likely to stay down. And just keep in mind that with time, you'll be back to your old self.

Once you experience a stomach virus, you want to do everything in your power to prevent it from happening again. Since these viruses are highly contagious, wash your hands often, especially when you're touching public items such as door handles and elevator buttons. Also, keeping up with your healthy diet and regular exercise routine will strengthen your immune system, so if you come in contact with a bug, your body can fight it off.

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