Prepare for a Stomach Bug Before it Hits the House
When you get a cold no one ever wants to leave the house to pick up the things that will make you feel better. But when a stomach malady strikes it can be almost impossible to leave the house. In the case of a stomach bug you need to have everything in the house before you or a family member gets sick. Here are some things to keep on hand.
Keep These in the House
After two bouts with a stomach bug shortly after we were married, I learned to keep Pepto Bismal in the house for my husband so I didn’t have to run out to the 24-hour pharmacy to pick some up in the middle of the night. My husband swears by Pepto for all of his digestive needs. Personally I can’t stand the stuff, but if you have a Pepto devotee it is worth keeping a small bottle in the house. Pepto Bismol can help with nausea, heartburn, diarrhea and indigestion; it is sort of the one stop shop for digestive issues and comes in liquid and chewable forms.
While I am not convinced that Imodium really stops diarrhea, when it strikes I always take it. I do find these dry tablets a little hard to swallow, especially when I am already not feeling well. There are lots of different formulas available but I keep Imodium AD on hand just in case we need it.
One of the biggest concerns when someone has a stomach bug is keeping them hydrated. Once vomiting seems to have stopped it is time to start offering liquids, one sip at a time. While water is often cited as the best liquid, it isn’t always appealing when you don’t feel well. I have found that the best liquid is whatever sounds good to the patient. Sugary drinks may cause additional stomach upset, but that seems to be more of an issue for young children than adults. Sports drinks, watered down juices and flat soda are some of the drinks to offer and keep on hand, but do avoid dairy, which can be really hard on the stomach. Often I can’t get my kids to drink anything, so that is when I turn to popsicles. By their nature, frozen popsicles ensure they don’t ingest too much too fast and children usually love them. Gelatin is another non-liquid that will help your patient stay hydrated, even if it doesn’t look much a liquid. I always have a couple of boxes on hand to make up just in case, but I have discovered it is worth having premade individual cups on hand as well since Jell-O does require some time to firm up. Just a note, Jell-O is not an option for vegans.
Once the patient is feeling a little better it is time to eat again. I find it best to offer bland food at first before working back up to a normal diet. Saltines crackers are a nice, bland cracker and usually well tolerated. And since they are quite dry it may encourage more drinking. Rice is another food that isn’t likely to upset and irritated digestive track. Although I don’t typically serve it as part of a meal, I do keep instant rice on hand so I can quickly make a small serving of rice for a hungry patient.
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