October 28, 2009

Causes, Symptoms & Home Remedies for Treating Stomach Bugs

Posted in Category : Common Ailments

Stomach bugs can be nasty and can lay you low for a few days. Symptoms could creep up on you slowly or hit you unaware suddenly. The severity of a stomach infection or bug depends on your immune system and its ability to resist an infection. Most people however recover from a stomach bug in a few days time with the proper rest and diet.

What could have caused your Stomach Bug?

  • The main causes of a stomach bug are a viral or bacterial infection. While viral stomach infections last for two to three days, bacterial infections could stretch for over a week or so. The most common bacterial infections are E.Coli, Salmonella, Campylobacter and Shigella to name a few. Viral causes include Adenoviruses, Rotaviruses, Caliciviruses, Astroviruses, and the Norovirus.
  • Parasites that irritate the gastrointestinal tract are another cause of a stomach bug. You can pick up these infections from drinking contaminated water, eating infected food, or even swimming in pools containing such parasites. Common parasites include Giardia and Cryptosporidium.
  • Certain medications such as aspirin, antibiotics, NSAIDs, steroids and laxatives may cause stomach bug symptoms as well.
  • Lactose intolerance or food allergies may be the reason for chronic stomach upsets.
  • If your drinking water contains traces of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead or mercury, it is possible that you may fall ill with stomach flu.


If you think you may have caught a stomach bug, check your symptoms against the following list:

  • Low-grade fever
  • Nausea (with or without vomiting)
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and gas
  • Stomach cramps
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle ache and body pain

Remember that not everyone will develop all the symptoms. Most symptoms also tend to resolve in a few days time. If you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately as they are signs of an underlying medical attention that requires speedy medical treatment:

  • Blood in your stools or vomit
  • Vomiting that does not abate for more than 2 days
  • Severe diarrhea
  • High fever (more than 101°F)
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Swollen abdomen that is tender to touch
  • Extreme thirst, dry mouth and little or no urination – all signs of dehydration
  • Dizziness and fainting spells
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Drowsiness

Home Remedies

Natural remedies generally work like a charm when it comes to treating a stomach bug. Try any of the following home remedies the next time you experience a stomach flu:

  • Drink a cup of chamomile tea to soothe muscles in the stomach and reduce cramping and abdominal pain.
  • All kinds of mint such a peppermint, spearmint and lemon balm contain antimicrobials that help improve digestion. Mint is also a muscle relaxant and works as an anti-spasmodic agent.
  • A teaspoon of fresh lemon juice mixed in a glass of warm water is an excellent way of fighting a stomach infection. The vitamin C in the lemon helps boost your immunity and speeds up the recovery process.
  • Eat a banana to help stop diarrhea. Bananas are not only easy to digest but also help balance out the loss of electrolytes in the body caused by dehydration.
  • Drink rice water to cure diarrhea. You could add a pinch of honey or cinnamon to make this more palatable.
  • Other items that help cure diarrhea and soothe an upset stomach include applesauce and blueberries.
  • Increase your intake of yoghurt to help maintain the balance of good bacteria. This will help with the recovery process and improve digestion.

Stomach infections could be a serious problem and therefore it is important to get medical help in case the condition does not ease out in a couple of days. Special care needs to be taken of children affected by stomach infection.


  1. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/preventing-infection.html
  2. http://www.digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/viralgastroenteritis/index.aspx