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Managing the Stomach Bug

Three Phases


  • throwing up frequently

  • really sick


  • starting to feel better

  • not throwing up as much

  • asking for water


  • no longer throwing up

  • focus on replenishing electrolytes and fluids

For the asymptomatic

Once there is someone in the house with nausea or with active emesis, isolate them as best you can. I will give a combo of 100% grape juice with activated charcoal to those who are asymptomatic or when I know we have been exposed.

There isn’t any science behind why grape juice works (something about altering the pH of stomach acid is the word on the street) - but there sure is tons of anecdotal evidence! We like the Knudsen Organic brand - just make sure you avoid the juice blends, “lites”, or juice cocktails. Mix 1/4 C juice with ~1/4 tsp of activated charcoal. It will turn whatever liquid or medium you’re using black, so the grape juice is good since it hides that. AC doesn’t taste like anything, but it does have a slight grittiness to it. Some kids may prefer it in applesauce.

Note: the grape juice is only a preventative, so giving it to someone who is already puking will only serve to provide you with purple puke to clean up.

For the symptomatic

Once someone is throwing up, your main focus will be supporting the body in eliminating what it needs to, providing comfort measures, and monitoring hydration.

There’s truly nothing worse than seeing your child or loved one so miserable. I make sure to stay with them as much as possible and speak soft words of encouragement to them through the bouts of sickness.

“I’m so sorry this is happening.”

“You’re doing so good.”

“Your body is doing exactly what it needs to.”

“You will get through this and feel better.”

“Mommy’s right here.”


Dehydration is the most common complication of stomach bugs. Especially in younger children, they can become dehydrated very quickly so you want to be sure you’re monitoring it with the tips below.

If they can hold it down, give periodic sips of water. You don’t want to be giving large sips of water - aim for small sips every 15 minutes or so. You can actually cause them to become more dehydrated if you’re forcing fluids and it’s causing them to get sick. There are instances when I completely restrict fluids for a small time during the stomach bug if my child isn’t tolerating even the small sips. This is a case by case, child by child basis and you’ll have to use your judgment.

You can also put 1/4 tsp of activated charcoal and a pump of @earthleywellness Feel Better Fast in the water.

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You can make your own electrolyte drink by mixing coconut water, juice, water, cream of tartar (high in potassium) and sea salt with trace minerals (we use @redmondrealsalt). Redmond also has an electrolyte mix called “re-lyte” that contains essential minerals in a base of coconut powder, so it’s incredibly hydrating to the body. You can give it in water or even make popsicles out of it once your child is ready.

For children who are still nursing, that is the preferred method of hydration and I offer it freely.

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Comfort Measures

Additionally, there are a few comfort measures you can use to help.

Diluted peppermint oil

Along the spine and applied to the nape of the neck with a cold rag to provide a cooling effect & help with occasional nausea.

Arsenicum Album homeopathy tablets

To relieve nausea and GI discomfort. Follow instructions on the package.

Gi support oils

  • Fennel

  • Coriander

  • Ginger

  • Proprietary blend like tamer or digestzen

Massaged clockwise over the abdomen for GI discomfort.

Other tips

We always have a designated puke trash can ready to go under one of the bathroom sinks. That way when a kiddo first starts to feel sick, you aren’t fumbling. We prefer trash cans vs bowls because they’re deeper and don’t splash back. Layer a few grocery bags & paper towels inside the trash can to help absorb the liquid and for easy clean up/turnaround for the next time they throw up.

If you have an older kiddo, we just camp them out in front of the toilet on a floor mat.

Keep a wet rag or wet wipes nearby to wipe their mouth after they’re done.

Post Stomach Bug

Manuka Honey

Once they’re feeling better, I offer a couple spoons of Manuka honey. Manuka has been used for many years as a natural remedy for stomach upset.

Probiotic rich diet

For about a week after, during recovery, I will give a probiotic rich diet. Full of things like homemade yogurt or kefir, and sauerkraut to help restore gut health.

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