How to bounce back from a stomach virus

If you've ever had a bad stomach virus, you know how painful it can be. After the first symptoms kick in, you give anything to speed the recovery process! A stomach virus can strike quickly and come with uncomfortable symptoms including diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever.

A stomach flu, or viral gastroenteritis, is caused by coming into contact with an infected person or ingesting contaminated food or water. Luckily, there are steps you can take to help speed recovery times with at-home remedies and a few FSA-eligible items, as well!

Start with the right fluids

The best options to treat a stomach virus include clear liquids like water and broth. You can also try sports drinks with electrolytes and tea (ginger or peppermint to soothe nausea). Whatever you drink among these options, it's important to rehydrate after a stomach virus with the right fluids.

The BRAT Diet

While eating during a stomach virus may not sound feasible, there's a diet that can help. Easily digestible foods with carbohydrates to give you energy and begin to replace nutrients lost as the virus runs its course are a good solution. The BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce and toast) diet fits this description. Eat small amounts to start off and stop immediately if the food continues to make you feel nauseous.

Over-the-counter Medications

If you have an FSA, your benefit will cover a huge range of pain relievers.* These pain relievers can treat fevers, headaches and muscle aches that accompany a stomach virus. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is the best option, as a fever reducer. It can also tackle some of the pain associated with a stomach virus but it should be taken sparingly and with food. Doctors will often advise against anti-diarrheals and other medications, as they can worsen some stomach flu symptoms.

Pain relievers will require a prescription for FSA reimbursement.*

Rest up!

Try to sleep off the virus as much as possible! The body will work harder to fight the virus while lying down, and repair damage on a cellular level. If you keep up with your daily activities and work schedule, your recovery will take longer! So use sick days and relax to ensure that you're back on your feet soon.

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