REHYDRATE THE RIGHT WAY: When recovering from gastro, it's good to avoid caffeine and alcohol for several days.
REHYDRATE THE RIGHT WAY: When recovering from gastro, it's good to avoid caffeine and alcohol for several days. Samantha Elley

4 tips when gastro hits the household

WHEN you catch a bug that causes acute infectious gastroenteritis (gastro), your stomach and intestinal tract become inflamed, causing diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping and pain.

The last thing you probably feel like doing is eating.

As you recover and the inflammation dies down, your appetite will gradually return.

But what should you eat?

1. Electrolytes

Oral rehydration therapy is a type of fluid replacement containing sodium and potassium.

It is the cornerstone of treatment for gastro, especially if you’re suffering from mild to moderate dehydration.

You can make it by combining water, salts and sugar.

Diluted juice or lemondate can also be used, as can sports drinks, but not in young children.

2. Food

Eat small, light meals and build up from there.

Bland foods such as crackers are typically recommended to avoid irritating the stomach, although there is no scientific evidence to support this.

When recovering from gastro, it’s good to avoid caffeine and alcohol for several days, as these can worsen dehydration.

3. Probiotics

These are live micro-organisms that are thought to be effective in the treatment and prevention of diarrhoea.

They alter the composition of gut microbes and can act against noxious gut pathogens.

4. Babies and young children

In the late 1920s the standard practice was to administer fluids and withhold foods to young people for a period of time, usually at least 24 hours.

After a period of starvation, young children would be reintroduced to food in gradually increasing amounts.

Subsequent research has found the gradual re-feeding approach provides no benefit over regular, continued breastfeeding, which was shown to be safe when babies have diarrhoea.


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