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Stomach flu, also called gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis means inflammation of the mucous membrane of both stomach and intestine, but the term is used to refer to bouts of diarrhea, possibly accompanied by vomiting and nausea, caused by either a virus, bacteria or parasite.

Gastroenteritis is a common cause of diarrhea and vomiting.

The best way to prevent stomach flu is to regularly and thoroughly wash hands. Simple soap and water is the best way to clean your hands. Use liquid soap and build a lather while rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Rinse and dry your hands thoroughly.

It’s especially important for everyone to wash their hands after using the bathroom, but also before or after these common activities:

  • After changing a diaper
  • After sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose
  • Before preparing food
  • After handling garbage
  • Before eating

1 Whenever possible, make sure the food is properly prepared in a clean environment, and that those who have prepared the food have thoroughly washed their hands.

2 Make sure your refrigerator is working properly and is keeping foods cold enough, and that any food past the “best before” date is thrown away.

3 Never store raw and cooked food in the same container, and make sure any food you cook is cooked all the way through, with no remaining raw bits.


Since stomach flu is common and can visit your household at any time, here’s a list of essentials to keep on hand so that you can be prepared.

  • An easy-to-read thermometer.
  • Children’s fever reducer.
  • An oral electrolyte drink (such as Electrolyte Gastro®) to help keep you or your child hydrated and to replenish the electrolytes and minerals lost through mild to moderate diarrhea and/or vomiting.

A designated barf bucket (DBB). Your DBB could be made out of common household items such as a repurposed trash basket or a stainless-steel mixing bowl. Having a DBB is essential because it contains the mess, helping to prevent the spread of germs.