Stomach flu achiness--help meeeee
January 14, 2015 1:07 PM   Subscribe

I have the stomach flu (gastroenteritis/food poisoning/whatever you want to call it) and the body aches are making me miserable. How can I feel better? (Inevitably gross details within...)

I ate something nasty yesterday for lunch (a sandwich with meat from a deli tray that I suspect sat out too long). A few hours later I was vomiting and having very-liquid diarrhea, then came the alternating feeling of freezing-and-burning up.

I went to bed around 6, slept on and off for about 12 hours, and while the vomiting and diarrhea has subsided (maybe because I haven't eaten anything since lunch yesterday) my body hurts SO BAD, specifically in my hips, lower back, and legs. My head is killing me too (the only reason I am even attempting to post this is because I am desperate).

Maybe it's because my body has been seized up from the shivering and stomach cramps; regardless of cause, all I want to do is sleep and the discomfort is keeping me awake. I just ate a little chicken broth and am feeling queasy again--I am afraid to take anything for the joint/muscle pain for fear of throwing up again. I took a hot bath but the water got cold fast; I've been laying on a small heating pad but the pain is too widespread for it to do much. The bed I have barely gotten out of has a prett cushy foam topper, and I almost wonder if it's making the discomfort worse...I layed on the hard floor for a bit at 3 am and that helped a little, but I quickly got too cold (even with a blanket).

Yes I am kind of a baby; I just don't get this kind of sick often and don't know what to do with myself. Any tips, tricks, or obvious remedies I am not thinking of?
posted by lovableiago to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Dehydration is serious bad news bears and will make you feel sicker. So drink! If you have something like Gatorade, that's probably ideal. Let it get warm and room temp and don't try to drink too much at a time. If you don't have Gatorade, sometimes watered-down juice (regular juice may be too acidic) or water with a bit of sugar and lime or lemon juice (not much) can work. Or flat ginger ale.

If you are keeping down the chicken broth, you can probably keep down painkillers. (And as I always ask myself in this situation -- would taking them and throwing them up really make you feel that much worse than not taking them at all?)

I think ibuprofen is the usual for muscle aches (if you can take it) but someone else may have a better suggestion. Or if you have someone who can go out for you, you could ask them to pick up liquid Tylenol (which I am assuming might absorb faster).

Feel better!
posted by pie ninja at 1:15 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

If it were me (and my post history will reveal a strong pro-antiemetic bias), I'd call my doctor and ask for a prescription antiemetic. Phenergan/promethazine will cut the nausea and let you keep down liquids; it will also make you a little drowsy and help with sleeping.

The last time I had norovirus, I figured my body aches were from the virus itself but also from lack of rest + dehydration, so I hope you feel better once you get some good sleep and hydration. Hang in there!
posted by magdalemon at 1:32 PM on January 14, 2015

Yes, part of the reason you feel awful may be dehydration. If you don't have Gatorade, you can make your own oral rehydration solution (which is probably better than Gatorade anyway, but drinking anything will help) by mixing ingredients you already have in your kitchen:

1 liter water
6 level teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Recipe from the Rehydration Project.

It tastes horrible, like drinking tears, but I've never had trouble keeping it down. If you have some Kool-Aid mix (the kind without sugar!) you can add some to improve the flavor. If you have the premixed/sugar added Kool-Aid, or Tang etc., you could probably substitute it for the sugar in the above recipe. In my experience, adding less flavoring (if I'm adding any at all) makes me less likely to feel queasy while drinking it.
posted by pullayup at 1:38 PM on January 14, 2015 [3 favorites]

Uh... do you have access to marijuana? If you do, do you have access to typed strains (e.g. can you find a high-CBD strain)? If so, brother, give it a go. I'm in year 23 of Crohn's and, let me tell you, since discovering the relief of weed at 18 and the even better relief of CBD-dominant strains (and a vaporizer) in the last five or so years, my life has vastly improved.

Many (most? all?) NSAIDS can cause additional gastro irritation, so give them a shot if you're not vomiting and are willing to try them. I've occasionally had success, too, with combination products like NyQuil and TheraFlu that are accompanied by sedative-level doses of other active ingredients that aren't so much direct pain relieves. Same goes with ZzzQuil/Benadryl (etc.)--you can medicate yourself to sleep with diphenhydramine and sleep through it. A la Hibernol.

Otherwise, park yourself in a hot bath for as long as you can muster (those of us with inflammatory gut issues are familiar with the iterations of hot bath -> hop out to toilet -> wet wipe -> back in the hot bath -> repeat).

You're not being a baby, inflammatory-mediated soreness is a fucking asshole.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:34 PM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

Get disposable heat wraps and put anywhere your body aches. Just careful not to get a burn.
posted by Toddles at 9:54 PM on January 14, 2015

I would suggest Tylenol/acetaminophen over an NSAID (NSAIDs include ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin...) in this situation, since, as late afternoon dreaming hotel rightly mentions, NSAIDs can be very hard on the GI tract. Tylenol should help you at least get a little more comfortable. Just keep an eye on proper dosage.
posted by en forme de poire at 9:57 PM on January 14, 2015

Seconding weed, if you have access. My go-to for nausea and pain (usually cause by a hangover) is running a nice bath and getting high; it's the only thing that helps my stomach when I cannot stomach pills. Rig up some Netflix in the bathroom too, if you can. If it is food poisoning, and your body is excreting from every orifice... keeping down anything may be hard, but try just small sips of water or gatorade and see how that goes.

I'm sorry you feel bad - hope you get better very soon!
posted by Drosera at 10:07 PM on January 14, 2015

(And actually, from reading around more, I'd low-ball the Tylenol dosage below even what the package insert recommends, since there are a few reports that fasting appears to increase the risk for hepatotoxicity. But then, I tend to be a little risk averse about medical stuff and am also not a doctor.)
posted by en forme de poire at 10:18 PM on January 14, 2015

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