How to Avoid The Stomach Flu

The stomach flu is a common term for intestinal upset involving nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea. It has nothing to do with the actual flu (influenza), and influenza (the actual flu) does not generally cause nausea or vomiting. Here are some tips on how to avoid this affliction.

Wash your hands regularly! Most viral causes of the "stomach flu" follow the fecal-oral route, which means that you eat tiny amounts of poop from an infected person. While you may think that there is no way that you are eating poop, you'd probably be wrong. Many people (especially children) do not wash their hands properly after using the bathroom, and then everything they touch can become infected. If you touch a thing that such a person touched, and then touch your hand to your mouth, you may also become infected.
Avoid touching your mouth or your eyes, especially if you haven't recently washed your hands. Even if you don't think you've touched anything infected, you might have. The infection could enter your body if you touch your hands to your mouth or eyes.
Cook your raw meats and dairy products (including eggs) completely. Raw meats may be infected with E. Coli or Salmonella or other bacteria, even if the meats have been processed and stored properly. These bacteria can cause the symptoms of the "stomach flu".
Avoid cross contamination. If you are preparing vegetables to be eaten raw, make sure that they do not come in contact with raw meat, nor come in contact with anything that has come in contact with raw meat. One easy strategy would be to have the counter on one side of the stove or sink be a completely raw-meat-free area. Use a different sponge to wipe up that area to avoid further cross contamination.

  • Wash your hands at regular intervals even if you don't think you've run into anything that was infected.
  • Always wash your hands after using the bathroom (even if it was only a quick trip to the toilet), not only for your own safety, but also to avoid spreading any infection to others.

  • This is not medical advice. Consult your doctor about any medical questions or concerns, especially if you have any long-term conditions or susceptibilities.

Copyright 2009 by Michael Nehring