There are few things harder to get through than a bout of stomach virus, whether it’s you or someone else in your household, particularly a child (because they are not known for their “aim” when sick). You get all the fun of regular flu, plus the added bonus of getting more familiar with your bathroom than you ever wanted to be. I have to wonder how many bathroom redos have happened after a protracted battle with a stomach virus.
There’s the old saying “Better out than in”, and it really applies to dealing with viruses or bacteria in the stomach and digestive tract. Yet the process of getting them out is uncomfortable, exhausting, and can even lead to dehydration and death if it gets out of control.
Conventional medicine stops the symptoms: no more vomiting/no more diarrhea. This can lead to constipation, or it can simply leave you feeling very sick for several more days. And if you’re projectile vomiting, you might not be able to keep the remedy down anyhow.
There are ways to deal with stomach viruses that are natural and do not simply stop the symptoms, but kill the germs so you’re no longer sick. No virus, no symptoms. So you really feel better.
A lot of people think of a stomach virus as “stomach flu”, but true influenza does not have a stomach/digestive system component. There are all kinds of things which can cause what we normally think of as stomach flu, from bacteria and food poisoning to parasites and obstructions.
Caveat: While viruses and bacteria are the most common causes of vomiting, there are some conditions that can cause vomiting that are not, as in some genetic conditions. Excessive vomiting can be deadly if it’s constant enough and lasts long enough to dehydrate the victim and upset electrolyte balances. Seek medical help, especially if the person is a young child, elderly, or dealing with a long-term illness. Watch for sunken eyes or skin that appears to have lost its elasticity. Yellow eyes can indicate liver failure, which can happen from the combination of electrolyte imbalance and dehydration.
What To Do If You Can’t Keep Anything Down
One of the hardest things in combating stomach viruses is keeping the remedy from re-emerging before it has time to do any good. Many hospitals now include on their websites to try apple cider vinegar in warm water. 1,2 This works particularly well with honey for vomiting where even ice chips don’t stay down. This is an old remedy, and it works well enough that when I tried it with my 3-year-old, just trying to get her to stop long enough to get to the car so we could go to the E.R., she took one sip and didn’t vomit again. Three years later, and this remedy has at least reduced the messiest part of being sick.
I’ve found the best method is to take a coffee mug and put about a tablespoon of honey (I use raw, unfiltered honey) in the bottom. Then pour in steaming water to nearly fill the mug, and add a tablespoon of vinegar. Wait until it cools a bit, and then present it to the patient with a straw to sip it with. After just a couple of sips, the patient may think they’re going to vomit again, but usually it’s just a belch. And that may be it for awhile. I usually try to get the patient to drink at last half of the mugful, in sips as they feel able.
What To Do When Occasional Vomiting Is Just One Symptom
Another excellent remedy to try when it’s not projectile and constant but just occasional is coconut oil. One of the fatty acids that makes up coconut oil, lauric acid, has been shown in several independent studies to strip the outer coating from 29 different classes of viruses, including the influenza virus. 3 It also kills or has an effect on most bacteria, and even affects some fungi. Lauric acid is on average 57% of coconut oil.
Because this is a property of the fatty acid, it is not destroyed by heating. I normally just give it to my kids straight, but it can be nauseating this way. A more appetizing way to take it is “coconut bark”: melted coconut oil and melted chocolate, sweetened with a little stevia and poured into a shallow, lined pan, and then put in the freezer to get solid.
I normally give around a tablespoon of coconut oil, or slightly more coconut bark. This also works very quickly because it works on contact. Once the protein coating of the virus is gone, the body’s defenses can speedily kill it. So it doesn’t just stop the vomiting or diarrhea; it also stops the cause. Given quickly at the start of an illness, it can turn what others report as lasting days into something that lasts mere hours.
There are also some things you can do to deal with nausea, like ginger tea (or candied ginger) or nutmeg in hot water, but I prefer to kill what’s causing the nausea, if it has an infectious cause. Ginger does work very well for nausea not caused by an infectious disease.
This video shows the resurgence of the Thai coconut industry. The head of the coconut oil board explains how coconut oil kills viruses. It shows in brief how coconuts are harvested, peeled and shredded, and then made into coconut oil. There’s a testimonial by a lady who tells how she no longer gets colds or flu, and the narrator concludes with how the oil is being used in Thailand to combat the H1N1 outbreak.
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