Monday, March 11, 2013

Stomach Flu

Recent outbreaks of Norovirus and other stomach and intestinal viruses have prompted me to write.

Norovirus, stomach and intestinal viruses are not flu. Influenza, which we commonly refer to as the flu, is an extremely infectious *respiratory virus*. Still viral in nature, this distinction matters in the type of tissues being affected and how. It helps us to know how to care for ourselves, what to do to resolve the virus and prevent contagion. Characterized by the symptoms of nausea, forceful vomiting, abdominal pain and watery diarrhea, there can be weakness and fatigue, muscle aches, headache a cough, and sometimes a low-grade fever as well. They are highly contagious, but unlike the flu do not spread by respiratory droplets, but directly from person to person in contaminated water and food. With the ability to be aerosolized into the air in which a person who is infected vomits, by a toilet flush of vomit or diarrhea, or on surfaces that saliva, vomit or feces have come in contact with, the virus can still be spread as well after all symptoms have subsided

Elder Flowers (sambucus nigra)
Unlike the flu, for the first 24 to 48 hours of a stomach or intestinal virus, it will probably be difficult to keep any herbal infusions, water or food down. This is when a tincture of equal parts elderflower, thyme and yarrow can be blended. 

Yarrow Flowers (Achillea millefolium)


Place 1 dropperful of this formula in a tablespoon of hot water. Take small frequent sips. Repeat this every hour until the symptoms subside.
Then, use 1 dropperful 3 times per day in hot water, until the person is well. This formula in my experience has proved to resolve the acute stage within 48 hours.

Lemon Balm (Melissa Officinalis)
After it's possible to keep fluids down, stay hydrated with water and an anti-viral infusion of lemon balm herb. Once resuming foods, begin slowly with warm broth for a couple of days, then progress to warmed juice and then thin, warm oatmeal with a little butter, salt and pepper.


Dried Marshmallow Root
 Also enjoy infusions of marshmallow root; 1/2 cup per quart of   cold  water, infuse 2 hours. Strain and drink throughout the day. This can improve immune response and help to restore fluids in the tissues depleted by vomiting and diarrhea. Go slow with resuming fluids and food or it may trigger an acute episode of vomiting.

Rosemary Herb
To reduce the possibility of spreading or contracting these viruses, wash hands frequently with a liquid soap to which several drops of essential oil have been added. To prevent contagion when people are known to have been ill, wash off toilet seats, sinks and other surfaces with a strong solution of 1 quart white vinegar with 1 tablespoon anti-viral herb essential oil, such as rosemary. 


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