Self Care Tips for Stomach Illnesses (WORD)

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UB Student Health Services is aware of an increase in students suffering with gastrointestinal illnesses (i.e.
stomach viruses). This is not unusual for this time of year. To help prevent the spread of viral illnesses, please
encourage good personal hygiene practices including washing hands frequently with soap or using
antibacterial hand spray/lotion, getting sufficient rest, and avoid sharing items such as drink containers or lip
balm.
Self-care for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Nausea & vomiting
 It’s important to prevent dehydration but you should wait at least 6 hours after vomiting before you
attempt to drink anything.
 Rest – activity worsens nausea and vomiting.
 Avoid food odors.
 Do not try to eat food at first. Start with small sips of clear liquids – water, tea, broth, flat ginger ale
(open can/bottle; allow to sit before drinking), fruit juices (but not acidic ones like orange or
grapefruit), or Gatorade. You can advance to gelatin or popsicles if tolerated.
 Avoid drinks containing caffeine (coffee, energy drinks) or alcohol.
 If you are having trouble keeping anything down, try sucking on ice cubes/ice chips.
 Once you are able to tolerate fluids, you may try to eat small amounts of simple foods – plain crackers,
dry toast, plain pasta or rice. Avoid foods which are spicy, greasy, high in fat or containing dairy.
 Progress to a normal diet over the next 24-48 hours.
Diarrhea
 Diarrhea causes your body to lose water; it is important to replace your fluids to prevent dehydration.
 Drink plenty of fluids, including water, sports drinks (Gatorade), broth, juice (but not apple or pear).
 Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol.
 Add soft, bland, low-fiber foods to your diet such as plain rice or pasta, boiled potatoes, toast, crackers,
baked chicken without the skin, eggs.
 Avoid foods which are spicy, greasy, high in fiber or containing dairy.
 Wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom.
 OTC medications like Imodium AD may slow the diarrhea but won’t always speed your recovery.
Call Student Health Services if:
 You have a severe headache associated with nausea/vomiting, especially if you haven’t had this type of
headache before.
 You are unable to drink anything for 12 hours or more.
 Vomiting lasts longer than 2-3 days.
 You vomit bloody or “coffee ground” material.
 You have a temperature > 102 or signs of dehydration (dark urine, little or no urination, severe
weakness, dizziness, excessive thirst).
 You have severe abdominal or rectal pain.
 You have bloody or black stools.
 Your diarrhea lasts longer than 3 days.
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