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Noravirus: How to stay hydrated when all you want to do is puke.

I recently tuned into the evening news where they mentioned a Noravirus outbreak. Unfortunately I was unimpressed with how this illness was being presented. Scare tactics like "this virus is untreatable" or "becoming resistant to drugs" were being thrown at concerned listeners who are already anxious and afraid to get sick.

Yes, getting the Noravirus totally sucks. You're puking and having diarrhea for what feels like days. It's not a fun experience at all. But guess what!?

Your body is doing exactly what it was designed to do when something invades the system. It works to get the invasion OUT! So while these symptoms are less than desirable, it is exactly how we were beautifully put together.

The biggest concern, especially in young children and the elderly, is dehydration. I would like to offer suggestions that would have been extremely useful to include in the evening news:

*do your best not to suppress the vomiting and diarrhea because this is exactly how the body is getting the virus OUT. DO, however, HYDRATE!!

First 24-48 hrs: Drink small sips of any of the following liquids

  1. SIP ONLY on sodium rich warm broth (vegetable, beef, or chicken). The warmth is soothing, the broth offers some nutrients, and is gentle on the bowel.

  2. DO NOT DRINK STRAIGHT UP WATER! THIS WILL ONLY MAKE YOU PUKE MORE and you need more minerals to prevent the dehydration. Hydration is more than water, it's electrolytes.

  3. SIP on warm throat coat tea or fennel seed tea. This soothes the digestive tract and helps with the cramping.

  4. Diluted apple juice works great for kids. This is a great solution if your child does NOT like Pedialyte.

  5. Warm ginger tea is great for nausea and is antiviral.

  6. Rice water: boil 1/2 a cup of rice in 2 cups of water for 10 minutes. Once the water becomes cloudy, strain, and drink the rice water.. Rice will not be cooked*

  7. Diluted pickle juice for the sodium.

  8. Good 'ol ginger ale or sprite, although these are last resorts if nothing else sounds appealing due to the High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Mix and match the liquids to get the electrolytes but also the medicinal properties of the ginger or throat coat tea.

Affter 48 hrs or when you or your child are ready to try something more solid:

  1. DO NOT go for heavy rich foods.

  2. Try adding foods in the B.R.A.T. diet. This includes a little banana, rice, apples, or toast. You can try some saltine crackers as well.

  3. DO NOT serve raw vegetables or whole grains. The fibers in whole grains and raw veggies are really tough to break down and the digestive tract is pretty raw. Be cooking the vegetables until they are really soft is breaking the fibers down into something that goes down easy. Same for the whole grains. Whole grains have all those wonderful complex fibers but the gut is tired and can't handle the workout. Dare I say it but this is when white bread is a go, particularly for kids. **Gluten intolerant? Try white rice or mashed potatoes, which is my personal favorite.

  4. Start taking L-glutamine powder to help repair the gut cells.

After about 4+ days:

  1. Slowly add in more solid but still cooked vegetables, chicken breast that's been shredded, beef stew, potatoes.

  2. Slowly add in yogurt

  3. Start a probiotic

  4. Continue the L-glutamine

Eventually this virus will pass out of the system. Your tummy will feel raw and sensitive for another week or so but the L-glutamine, throat coat tea, and probiotic will help minimize the lasting effects.

As an adult who likes to look on the bright side of things. We all need a cleanse every once in awhile and getting the Noravirus can help jumpstart that diet you've been holding off on.

Be well everyone and know that poop happens, we get sick, it sucks, but our bodies are so amazing at knowing exactly what to do.


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