Coping with viral gastroenteritis, commonly called intestinal or stomach flu, involves preventing dehydration, allowing the stomach to settle and getting plenty of rest. An individual should slowly resume a normal diet after a bout with the stomach flu, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Dehydration is the biggest risk with intestinal flu, explains MedlinePlus. The vomiting, diarrhea and fever associated with the illness causes the body to lose fluid and electrolytes. Prevent dehydration by sipping 2 to 4 ounces of fluid at a time, every 30 to 60 minutes. Water and other caffeine-free beverages are acceptable, but sports drinks and oral hydration solutions are a better choice because they help replace the body's electrolytes.
Individual should allow the stomach to settle, and then slowly ease back into a normal diet, reminds the Mayo Clinic. This entails beginning with clear liquids, such as Jell-o, broth-based soups and ice pops. Progressing to full liquids includes adding puddings, cream of wheat or rice, and creamy soups back to the diet. If those foods are tolerated, individuals can eat bland foods, such as bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, before moving back to a full diet. If nausea, vomiting or diarrhea return, go back to either full or clear liquids until symptoms pass.
Intestinal flu is quite contagious. Thorough hand washing, rapid clean up of soiled linens or clothing, and disinfection of common surfaces can help prevent further infection, notes MedlinePlus.