When we talk about intestinal virus or intestinal flu, we should more correctly call them by the medical term viral gastroenteritis. It is a gastroenteritis that is not caused by a food infection or bacteria, but is caused by a virus.
The virus carrying the so-called intestinal flu belongs to the rota virus family. All other virus, the epidemic peaks associated with seasonal fluctuations. It is responsible for this annoying disease, which unfortunately affects adults but very often also children. Furthermore, there is no vaccine for the intestinal virus, so it is not possible to protect yourself in a preventive manner.
What to do if you are affected by the intestinal virus? How can the acute phase be managed better and then also the period of convalescence? Which foods should be eaten and which ones should be avoided? We talked to our nutritionist, trying to gather all the information that can be used in the event of a possible attack of this annoying form of viral gastroenteritis.
Symptoms of intestinal virus
The first difference between a viral gastroenteritis and a food poisoning lies in the timing. Usually the food infection arrives abruptly, because there is no incubation period as happens instead in the case of intestinal virus. One feels suddenly and not gradually. Viral gastroenteritis instead has an incubation period and then a term, just like all other viral influences. The only difference is that they are a little faster.
It will be the doctor who, on the basis of the declared symptoms, will be able to understand if it is a viral problem or a food infection.
The typical symptoms are:
- Abdominal pains
- He retched
But, being a virus, the picture also includes all those typical symptoms of viral and respiratory influences:
- Muscle pains
- Bone pains
- Conjunctivitis or eye discomfort
- A slight fever.
Intestinal virus: What to eat in the acute phase?
The first thing to do is obviously to consult a doctor who, through the symptoms, can understand the nature of the illness. In terms of medicines, the advice is to avoid antibiotics and prefer tachypirine and lactic acid bacteria.
And then follow some precautions also from a food point of view.
In the acute phase, for example, it is preferable not to eat but to drink only, to avoid a possible dehydration caused by an excessive loss of fluids due to vomiting and diarrhea. Drink the liquids in small sips, perhaps with a spoonful at a time to check if you can hold them.
In addition to water, you can also drink herbal tea, sweet tea. An excellent solution for rehydration is to drink the water obtained by boiling the rice with a couple of carrots and a little salt.
In summer, when the heat tends to sweat more, the risk of dehydration is higher.
Intestinal virus: The diet to follow to get better
In the recovery phase, it is very important to avoid milk and milk derivatives – apart from Parmesan or mature cheeses – because after diarrhea a secondary lactose intolerance occurs.
If you have a swollen belly, it is best to avoid potatoes that increase swelling. Furthermore, it is preferable to choose rice instead of pasta. If there is a genetic predisposition to celiac disease, when there is a gastroenteritis, the intestine becomes more permeable to gluten and there is a risk of turning on celiac disease.
Yes to the rusks and also to the corn, while it is necessary to use a bit of caution in reintroducing vegetables and fruit in the feeding, because of their abundance of fibers.
For vegetables, you can start with some corvettes or boiled carrots, while for fruit you should avoid kiwis, plums and figs. You can eat apples in small quantities, ripe bananas – not unripe – and even citrus fruits like oranges and tangerines.
It is also good to eat chicken breast or parmesan, which allows the assimilation of proteins and mineral salts.
Tips to get better as soon as possible
Do not immediately use medicines and avoid self-medication, consulting your doctor instead. Moreover, if it is a viral form, to avoid the contagion of other family members it is good to use some precautions:
- Don’t stay too close
- Use different linens and towels
- Pay attention to the use of utensils, forks, plates and glasses.