10 Natural Home Remedies for Stomach Bug in Kids & Adults Alike!

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Stomach bug will get you down and you need these natural home remedies for stomach bug. We’ve all been there.

In fact, Rotavirus Gastroenteritis (aka: the “stomach bug”) is believed to infect.

Nearly every child in the world before the age of 5. Fast forward to adulthood, and it’s inevitable to get at one time or another (especially if you have kids!)

HOW YOU GET THE STOMACH BUG

Rotavirus (the stomach bug) is super contagious! It spreads through direct or indirect contact with an infected person’s poo (think diaper changing). It can also happen if you touch a contaminated object (like a toy at preschool), food, water, or the hands or mouth of an infected person.

HOW LONG THE STOMACH BUG LASTS

Once infected, the stomach bug typically lasts for 4 to 6 days. If it persists longer, electrolyte and fluid loss is essential to monitor, along with extra gut and immune supports.

STOMACH BUG SYMPTOMS

The stomach bug reduces absorption of nutrients in the gut, leading to fluid and electrolyte loss in the intestines and increased “leaky gut” (inflammation).

The most common symptoms of the virus include:

  • fever
  • nausea & vomiting
  • watery diarrhea 
  • abdominal pain
  • cough & runny nose

10 NATURAL REMEDIES FOR THE STOMACH BUG

So, what to do about the stomach bug? Look no further than these 10 research-backed, clinically tested natural home remedies for stomach bug.

#1. Fluids 

First and foremost, hydration is the name of the stomach bug game, especially since severe dehydration is a common risk factor in rotavirus. Keep fluids up and running with both filtered, mineral-rich water and other liquids containing nutrients (like the electrolyte drinks below).

Top recommendations include:

  • Non-tap water — like Mountain Valley Spring water 
  • Filtered Berkey water for optimal hydration
  • At the very least, Brita filtered water

Avoid sodas and fruit juices. 

#2. Natural Electrolytes

Speaking of hydration, water and fluids are meaningless without minerals to aid in the absorption of those nutrients. Enter: electrolytes. The power house nutrients — like potassium, sodium, magnesium, chloride that aid in fluid balance and uptake. 

However, before you jump on the Gatorade that comes with an extra dose of high fructose corn syrup, food coloring and/or artificial sweeteners, consider these alternatives instead:

  • Bone broth
  • My homemade electrolyte drink like this one (move over Pedialyte) 
  • Coconut water with a pinch of sea salt (potassium and sodium) 
  • Add sea salt to water and food to taste
  • Less processed electrolyte powders like Thorne electrolyte powder, Ultima, LMNT
  • Celery juice & green juice
  • Beet juice (pure beets)
  • Smoothies with avocado and/or banana, collagen peptides or bone broth protein powder and dairy free milk

#3. High Dose Probiotics

Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG reduces stomach bug virulence and aids in recovery. One study showed that kids who took the probiotic reduced their risk of diarrhea lasting longer than 7 days was reduced by 75% and they recovered faster overall. 

Lactobacillus reuteri MM53 is another strain that cut virus time by 50% in 53 toddlers who took the strain. 

#4. Carob Powder

Carob powder is rich in polyphenols that aids in boosting gut bugs to work “for you” (not against you) in the recovery from stomach bug. Carob specifically contain tannins, a class of  biomolecules that bind to and dampen viral proteins.

How to Take It: Try carob and take approximately 1/2 tsp for every kilogram of bodyweight (up to 15 grams or 1 tbsp per day) for up to 6 days. Carob powder tastes delicious (especially when you make it into a hot chocolate like this recipe.) You can also stir it into coconut yogurt, apple sauce, almond milk, water or take it straight.

#5. Cinnamon & Berry Tea

Tannin-rich herbs found in teas or tinctures that inactivate viral proteins and boost you biome.

Try It: I love Harney & Sons or Tazo cinnamon tea. 

#6. Go Gluten Free & Dairy Free

Kids who eat gluten and/or dairy regularly are more susceptible to not only rotavirus but leaky gut as well in the research. Consider what could be possible for your kiddo if less pesticides, mycotoxins, additives, food dyes, sweeteners, gums, antibiotics and hormones (commonly found in these foods) had less room to provoke inflammation in the gut?

How to Do It:

Replace gluten foods with paleo-inspired coconut flour and arrowroot starch “baked good” recipes (like coconut flour banana nut muffins), as well as root-veggie starches (like cooked and cooled potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, rutabagas, etc.). Replace dairy foods with coconut or almond based alternatives with the fewest ingredients as possible. 

#7. Sip Broth

While bone broth may be a hot trend at the moment, it is nothing new. For centuries, broth has been considered a healing remedy for healing form illness (translation: your great-great-great grandmother made it cool). Bone broth contains tons of electrolytes and amino acids necessary for healing and restoring the gut lining. 

How to Take It:

Check out Kettle & Fire or FOND Bone Broth online, or make your own simple broth in your kitchen. 

#8. Eat Easy-to-Digest (Real) Foods

Appetite is typically not at its finest when you’re sick with the stomach bug and fluids definitely take front seat when it comes to essential “nutrients”. However, for energy sake, reach for easy-to-digest (real) foods such as:

Proteins

  • Roasted chicken
  • Stewed, slow cooked meats (shredded chicken or beef)
  • Baked fish
  • Turkey
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Collagen peptides
  • Bone broth & bone broth protein

Fruits

  • Banana (greenish)
  • Apple sauce

Vegetables

  • Fresh herbs (oregano, dandelion, thyme, sage)
  • Cooked & cooled potato
  • Roasted or mashed root vegetables (parsnips, carrots, rutabaga, sweet potato)
  • Frozen cut green beans
  • Squash

Misc.

  • Coconut flour tortillas
  • Cooked & cooled white rice 
  • Cooked & cooled gluten-free oats
  • Sea salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg

Fats

  • Cooking with ghee or coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Drinks

  • Purified spring water (add lemon or lime)
  • Zevia Ginger Ale
  • Cinnamon, Blackberry or Raspberry Tea
  • Sparkling water 

#9. Add in Colostrum

Breast milk, rich in prebiotics known as human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs), prevent and short circuit rotavirus infections along with other illnesses in research (which is why breastfeeding is said to be healthy for the gut microbiome). Although drinking human breast milk is NOT recommended once weaned, colostrum supplementation to the rescue! 

How to Take It: Pump 2 to 3 sprays of colostrum spray or take 1 scoop. Of colostrum in a morning shake or mixed into coconut yogurt. 

#10. Manuka Honey

Honey has various healing properties, including antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulator, and pre-and pro-biotic. Studies have shown that honey can destroy or control various bacterial pathogens, such as E. coli, listeria, staphylococcus, salmonella and various viruses. Studies in kids with acute gastroenteritis show that adding honey to the rehydration solution reduces the duration of diarrhea and vomiting, as well as promotes rapid restoration of dehydration. 

How to Take It:

Add 1/2 to 1 tsp of Manuka honey or unrefined raw honey to tea or broth 1 to 2 times per day; or up the ante by adding it to 5 mL of aqueous zinc 3 to 4 x daily, like one study did with significant success (Mahyar et al, 2021).

NEED A HEALTH DETECTIVE?

Reach out to our clinic  if you need to get the best natural home remedies for stomach bug and for functional medicine support today.

Hu Y, Gui L, Chang J, Liu J, Xu S, Deng C, Yu F, Ma Z, Wang G, Zhang C. The incidence of infants with rotavirus enteritis combined with lactose intolerance. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2016 Jan;29(1 Suppl):321-3. PMID: 27005498.

Laucirica, D. R., Triantis, V., Schoemaker, R., Estes, M. K., & Ramani, S. (2017). Milk Oligosaccharides Inhibit Human Rotavirus Infectivity in MA104 Cells. The Journal of nutrition, 147(9), 1709–1714. https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.116.246090

Mahyar A, Ayazi P, Shaftaroni MR, Oveisi S, Dalirani R, Esmaeili S. The Effect of Adding Honey to Zinc in the Treatment of Diarrhea in Children. Korean J Fam Med. 2021 Nov 2. doi: 10.4082/kjfm.21.0080. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34724778.

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