How to Prevent the Stomach Flu After Exposure


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Reviewed by Lisa Blohm, PhD, MSN, RN

in this article

Today I’m sharing one of my favorite mom tips of all time – how to avoid getting the stomach flu when your family has it! This tip is so easy, simple, and effective, it almost feels like a magic trick. But, this game-changing trick is NOT too good to be true. This tip has saved me from the stomach flu more times than I can count, and today I am sharing it with you!

Best of all, this tip isn’t just for preventing stomach flu. It’s also very helpful for reducing symptoms and speeding up recovery from stomach flu for those who’ve already caught it.

Natural stomach flu remedies

We’ve all been there. One family member suddenly feels a little off and before you know it, they’re throwing up and you’re quickly realizing that with all the shared cups and food in your house, it’s only a matter of time before the illness runs through your whole family. As a parent, that means taking care of everyone else before finally getting sick yourself.

Here is where I introduce… activated charcoal.

I have come to think of activated charcoal as my tried and true treatment for the flu. I would place its success rate at around 98%, and those are odds I’m happy to take when it comes to avoiding rounds of digestive distress.

What is activated charcoal?

Activated charcoal is a potent and porous natural supplement that can be used to trap toxins and chemicals in the body before they are absorbed internally. The porous surface of activated charcoal has a negative electric charge that causes positive charged toxins and gases to bond to it. It works by trapping bad bacteria, chemicals, and toxins in its millions of tiny pores, bonding with these toxins, and expelling them out of the body.

One of the most popular uses for activated charcoal around the globe is in emergency rooms for the treatment of poisoning and drug overdoses. So that gives you an idea of just how powerful and effective this supplement can be!

Activated charcoal can also prevent hangovers, reduce bloating and gas, aid in bile flow issues, and… prevent or diminish the symptoms of the stomach flu! Activated charcoal can also help with diarrhea and stomach pain or cramps!

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How to prevent stomach flu after exposure

At the first sign of illness, I start administering activated charcoal to my whole crew. If I can catch the bug before someone is actively throwing up, it often prevents them from getting it all together. If they’re already ill, getting just a little activated charcoal into them makes a huge difference in their recovery.

Stomach flu treatment for kids

what are the best foods to eat after stomach flu
  • 1 capsule activated charcoal
  • 1 Nuun Electrolyte Tab (pick your favorite flavor)
  • 1 half lemon

To administer to children, I empty a capsule of activated charcoal into a cup with a lid and straw. (Because it is very black in color, you’ll want to be extra careful to avoid spills.)

I mix in a squeeze of lemon and a Nuun electrolyte tab for taste. The Nuun tablet also provides hydration and a nutrient punch that’s very helpful for kids even if they do already have the flu. You lose a lot of electrolytes when you’re throwing up and have a fever!

If you don’t have a Nuun tab or similar electrolyte drink, you can also mix it with juice or just put it right into water! Avoid choosing any drinks that contain sugar, such as soda. Sugar depresses the immune system — right when you need it most!

Stomach flu treatment for adults

How to Prevent the Stomach Flu After Exposure

For adults, it’s often easier for us to just take the capsules than bother with creating another drink. I recommend taking two capsules every three hours when you feel like you’re fighting the stomach flu or when other family members are actively throwing up. Of course, you’re also welcome to follow the same recipe I do for kids — just double the dose of activated charcoal.

Tips for taking activated charcoal

  • Activated charcoal is constipating, so drink LOTS of extra purified water to stay hydrated. Avoid taking activated charcoal if you’re already struggling with constipation.
  • Avoid taking activated charcoal near meals because the charcoal will bind to the food and you absorb fewer nutrients.

Additional stomach flu remedies

Of course, when fending off the stomach flu, I’d also recommend giving your family members immune-boosting goodies like elderberry, probiotics, and vitamins D and C! Also, make sure everyone is getting good rest!

  • Elderberry is a sweet, delicious, and gentle immune booster. It powerfully supports all immune system functions and increases your natural immune response.
  • Probiotics replenish the healthy bacteria in your gut. Did you know you owe about 70% of total immune function to the health and balance of the bacteria in your gut? You do!
  • Vitamin D gets far too little credit when it comes to powering up the immune system, but this vitamin is actually an enormous help to improving your immune system’s strength and resilience when fighting stomach bugs.
  • Vitamin C is essential for immune health, so increasing this well-known immune-boosting nutrient when you’re battling a bug is always a great idea.
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I’d recommend checking out our Stomach Flu Bundles that are filled with our tried-and-true products for preventing and treating stomach viruses.

  • Kid’s Stomach Flu Bundle
  • Adult Stomach Flu Bundle

The best foods after stomach flu

How to Prevent the Stomach Flu After Exposure

Whether you’re on your way to recovery or still in the midst of battling the bug, there are some foods that will provide vital nourishment while being gentle on the digestive system. While the thought of eating might be the very last thing on your mind, there are a few foods that will help your body stay nourished so that you or your little ones can recover quickly.

  • Warm bone broth and veggie broth are nutrient-dense and easy to digest. It’s a great way of getting a lot of nourishment quickly.
  • Simple soups filled with tender veggies are another easy way to get a lot of nourishment down in a way that is gentle on tender tummies.
  • Toast or plain bread is another long-time favorite moms have been giving to sick kids. It’s gentle on the stomach and can help slow diarrhea — and we all know how comforting carbs can be!
  • White rice and other similarly starchy, low-fiber foods can help firm up your stool and stop the diarrhea that can come along with stomach trouble. Avoid wild or brown rice though, as these are more likely to irritate an already sensitive stomach.

In the same way that there are excellent foods to enjoy during stomach flu, there are also foods to avoid. I recommend that you avoid sugar on the best of days, but during the stomach flu it’s even more important. Sugar and processed foods put a strain on the digestive system and lower your immune response — right when you need it most!

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Some other foods to avoid include:

  • Dairy products
  • Highly acidic foods
  • Fatty foods (difficult to digest)
  • Spicy foods
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol

How to get rid of gas after stomach flu

Activated charcoal is the hero in your home medicine cabinet yet again! After a particularly bad bout with the flu, it’s pretty normal to continue to experience gas and bloating for a few days. But you can get rid of that that very easily with some more activated charcoal! Take one capsule with a full glass of water and you should see your gas clear up within an hour or so.

If you continue to struggle, you can take up to three more capsules. Just make sure you drink an entire glass of water with each — you’ve just had the flu so you’re more likely to be dehydrated. Since charcoal is dehydrating, you need to make sure you keep your fluids up!

So now you know — you can avoid the stomach flu!

This winter, don’t dread the stomach flu! Now you know how to avoid getting the stomach flu when your family has it — and how to cure stomach flu once you’ve already gotten it!

Grab some activated charcoal and keep it in your cupboard so you’re totally prepared for anything the cold season throws you. (More specifically, NO throwing up and more time to enjoy the winter months!)

Better yet, strengthen your immune system as a whole and be prepared for stomach flu woes — because you know they’re bound to show up sometime. Our Stomach Flu Bundles contain my favorite products that I’ve mentioned above for preventing and treating stomach viruses.

  • Kid’s Stomach Flu Bundle
  • Adult Stomach Flu Bundle

Download the FREE PDF – Natural stomach flu remedies that actually work

I have created a FREE downloadable PDF for you, combining all of my tips into one easy to reference chart. This PDF also shares my Activated Charcoal Lemonade recipe and some other great tips for ways to put the stomach flu blues behind you! Click here to get your free copy (and feel free to share with any friends and family who need to read this – AKA everyone!)