Please excuse my interrupting the Out of Africa series – some of my favorite memories, and I think, some of my strongest writing, to bring you this important message. Out of Africa II will be posted for you on Tuesday, but in the meantime… I was in the midst of serving dinner to my clients Wednesday night when I saw Tatjana’s name pop up as my cellphone began ringing. Now 7:30PM PST meant middle of the night for Tatjana, so I knew there was an emergency of some sort. Her boyfriend, Aaron had been violently ill all night, and she wanted tummy bug advice.

The Out of Africa blog post series

The Out of Africa blog post series

I’m not a doctor, so please do consult yours if you are sick, but here are some general useful tips from someone who has suffered with stomach problems for years (I have Crohn’s colitis):

1). The most important thing is to rehydrate (and I do not mean with alcohol) – your electrolytes can get dangerously low, so drink as much water or Gatorade (athletes use it to replenish their electrolytes) as you can keep down, even if it is sip by sip. Gulping will most likely have an undesired effect. See the recipe below for how to make your own electrolyte water, if you’re too ill to go to the store. Most households will already have the ingredients on hand.

2). The most common question I get is “what should I eat when I have stomach flu?”  My advice is to listen to your body. It will tell you when it is ready to try something solid, but start with very small portions, eat slowly, and stick to soft, bland foods to avoid irritating the lining of your stomach further. I usually start with a little chicken or vegetable broth, Greek yogurt is good for lining your stomach while adding back in some of the good bacteria you’ve lost, and saltine crackers seem to help settle my tummy. If I’m successful at keeping that down, I will try a little toast and maybe some scrambled egg.

Eat a little scrambled egg and toast when you feel strong enough

Eat a little scrambled egg and toast when you feel strong enough

3). If your stomach cramps are causing you acute pain, and I say “if acute” because pills can be irritating to your stomach as well, stick to the recommended dose of Tylenol. It’s easiest on the stomach and does not require you to take it with food. If you use aspirin or other analgesics, be sure to take with food to avoid upsetting your tummy more.

4). Plenty of rest and giving your body time to fight it off is the only other thing you can do. Stomach flu is a virus, so antibiotics would be ineffective and just deplete more of the good bacteria you need to fight the illness.

None of this for now!

None of this for now!

5). Avoid giving it to others. Wash your hands frequently, and try to avoid any unnecessary contact with others (no smooching for now guys).

Electrolyte Recipe

This recipe is from My pediatrician gave this to my Mom at least ’30-something’ years ago. It is supposed to help reduce high fevers, vomiting and settle upset tummies. Gingerale still reminds me of being sick and stuck in bed all day with my comic books. Read more at here.


Servings: 12

1 quart warm water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
4 tablespoons orange juice
ginger ale or Coke

1). Mix all the ingredients except gingerale or coke.
2). When ready to drink, mix 1 ounce of electrolyte with 1 ounce of gingerale or coke.
3). Give this every hour for up to 10 to 12 doses per day.
4). Keep unused portion refrigerated. Keep gingerale or coke at room temperature.
5). Disclaimer: Of course if there is an abnormally high temperature or if it persists more than a day or two, consult a physician.

What home remedies and tips do you have?

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