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Stomach or 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.
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. 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.
After you can 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. Go slow with resuming fluids and food or it may trigger an acute episode of vomiting.
Stomach or intestinal viruses are highly contagious, but unlike the flu do not spread by respiratory droplets, but on surfaces that saliva, vomit or feces have come in contact with. After symptoms have subsided the virus can still be spread as well. So 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. Also wash hands frequently with a liquid soap to which several drops of essential oil have been added.
Heather Nic an Fhleisdeir, Clinical Herbalist
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