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6 Ways to Prevent the Stomach Flu Naturally

how to prevent stomach flu

Preventing the Stomach Flu Naturally…

This is the thought that is consuming me right now. I will do anything to avoid getting it.

Give me a respiratory virus over the stomach flu any day.

I hate to puke. Yes. I said Hate…I know. I always tell my kids not to use that word. Normally, I think it is such an ugly word (oh, I hate the word ugly too, by the way…).

Except, of course, when it comes to vomiting. I really do hate it. And really, it is ugly, coincidentally.

When I hear or see someone throw up around me, I start to get heart-palpitations and anxiety. And when I have to throw up myself? Oye.

So…needless to say, over the years of having two school-aged children who get exposed to their fair share of stomach bugs, I have spent lots of hours researching and obsessing (and yes, I literally have obsessed about this) over how to prevent it from taking down our home.

On the news the other night, the headline that popped up was the dreaded one that puts me into a full-blown state of anxiety:

Health Advisors Warn of  a New-Strain of Norovirus Outbreak.

“Operation Vomit-Phobe” has officially gone in to full effect in my house now. Because here’s the thing: if my kids come down with it, I will literally spend the next week sleepless, fearing that every twinge, stomach gurgle, or gas pain is leading to my own slippery slope into vomit-ville.

After spending years studying and learning about out how the stomach virus actually works in our bodies, and collecting a variety of natural home-remedy ideas for prevention, I thought I would share a few of the most successful tips that many people (myself included) SWEAR will work to either prevent, or at least lessen the severity of, that dreaded Stomach Virus. 

So here you go…

How to prevent the stomach flu naturally

6 Ways to try and Prevent the Stomach Flu Naturally…

OR… at least lessen the severity of it if you DO get hit with it!

1. Sip that Apple-Cider Vinegar (with the “Mother”) in a little bit of apple juice on a regular basis. This actually helps to keep your stomach and intestines in a much more alkaline state (contrary to what you may think, I know. But trust me on this, friends). The intestinal virus does NOT like an alkaline environment. It thrives in an acid state.

When you get a stomach virus, it actually isn’t in your stomach, it’s all in your large and small intestines. The effects of what it’s doing to those makes you sick to your stomach (changing the acidity in your stomach). Keeping the pH of the intestines slightly more alkaline is supposed to stop the virus from taking hold. Apple Cider Vinegar works by changing the pH in your intestinal tract to one that doesn’t let the virus multiply. Plus it also has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties so it can assist in killing off the bug if you are exposed.

And, if you have been following me for a while, you KNOW how much I love the Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar. Plus, many people, including myself, say Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar can help alleviate nausea if you do end up sick.

We all sip a version of this Apple Cider Vinegar Concoction in my house when we are trying to prevent the flu.

2. Maximize your intake of probiotics – whether through quality supplements or through natural food sources such as homemade fermented foods like kefir, sauerkraut, kombucha, fermented veggies, etc. A build-up of the good bacteria in your intestines will help keep your immune system stronger to try and ward off the virus if you do get exposed.

They are currently doing many studies on probiotics that are showing great promise in their treatment AND prevention of bacterial AND viral gastroenteritis (aka the Stomach Bug).

The right balance of healthy bacteria in the intestines can help to overpower invading bugs that might have the potential to make you very sick.

3. Drink tons of Bone Broth. Seriously. Throw it in a mug and chug away. The minerals and health benefits of true bone broth will also keep your immune system strong and help your body fight off any exposure. The broth acts as a fuel to help strengthen the intestinal walls and will help repair the disruptions that may be caused if you do come down with gastroenteritis. The minerals in broth are easily absorbed by the body.  It supplies the amino acids that help the body detoxify.  The gelatin in it helps to coat the digestive tract.

Although, here is a word to the wise. Stock up on it now. Because if the stomach bug IS traveling through your house, you will not, I repeat, will not want to be dealing with the bones and the smells that come from whipping up a fresh batch while you are in the throes of nausea. I learned this the hard way long ago.

4Enhance the mucosal lining of the intestinal walls. Supplements such as: betain and pepsin, glutamic acid, stomach bitters, apple cider vinegar, Slippery Elm, Marshmallow Root, and amino acids – L-glutamine, and N-acetyl-glucosamine (NAG) are all very helpful in creating a healthy environment that would be inhospitable to welcoming forms of gastroenteritis.

5.  Support that immune system. Focus on natural sources and whole-food supplements that are rich in Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Zinc, Selenium, and B-Vitamins. All of these will increase your chances of your body fighting off the invading bugs if you do get exposed.

6. This one is not brain science, but perhaps the most important of all…WASH. YOUR. HANDS. And often. And abstain from rubbing your eyes, touching your mouth, or picking your nose. Those are all the lovely ways those nasty germs can enter your beautiful body.

But, if after all of this you do happen to come down with it, hopefully it will be a much milder case for you.

If you get it, at first do not do too much other than take small sips of water. It is good to let your digestive system rest while it is trying to fight off the bug. But, once you are not heaving into your garbage can or toilet any longer, you can try and still  do the above to lessen symptoms and help your recovery.

Other things to try if you do get it:

1. Take activated charcoal pills to help stop vomiting and nausea.

2. Make some fresh peppermint tea or ginger tea to help calm the nausea. Peppermint is very easy to grow in the garden and keep on hand. Just lightly simmer some fresh peppermint leaves in water, strain, then sip slowly. This can help settle the queasiness. Or you can do the same process with some slices of fresh ginger.

3.  Take a sniff of an alcohol swab. I know it sounds weird, but people swear on this one, this way to Sunday. Please Note: I do not endorse this for children. I do not encourage teaching children any forms of early sniffing habits.

But, apparently smelling alcohol has truly been proven to have an anti-emetic effect. In fact, this method has actually been practiced in hospitals to prevent post-operative vomiting.

4.  After a bout of the stomach bug, once you are feeling better, you should also take massive amounts of probiotics. This will help to restore balance to your depleted intestinal tract.


Sadly…so sadly…I have passed on my emetophobic tendencies to my eight-year-old. If he hears or sees someone throw up, it literally puts him into a tailspin of anxiety. My totally relaxed-anxiety-free kid-when-it comes-to-any-other-issue-in-his-life, goes into a heart-palpitation induced sweat when faced with vomit.

Can you see now why we go through every length to avoid it in our house? 😉

Food Allergy Coaching with the Allergy Free Food Coach

Kim Maes - Allergy Free Food CoachKim Maes, CNC, AADP, known as the Allergy Free Food Coach, is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Consultant and Certified in the Practical Application of Food Allergy Guidelines.. She is also the creator of the Cook It Allergy Free iPhone and iPad Apps and the Cook It Allergy Free website, where she shares her passion for teaching others how easy and delicious it can be to eat whole, pure allergy-friendly meals that the entire family will enjoy.


  1. On September 13, 2014 Katie said

    OMG! I had NO IDEA there were SO many ppl out there with the same
    Fear as me of Vomit! The fear rules my entire life. I’ve had therapy &
    Am even fighting w/anorexia bc I’m afraid of eating that it will cause me
    To puke. Flu season is like a war & the anxiety, sleepless nights just
    “Waiting” for it to hit my house is unbearable! I will ABSOLUTELY be
    Taking all these precautionary steps & PRAY they help me too!
    This fear of vomit & stomach bugs is like a curse and I TRULY feel
    For ANYONE who battles w/this phobia like I do. No one understands & it
    Was so nice to read that there were so many ppl out there like me.
    Hugs to you all!

  2. On October 14, 2014 Patrick said

    Ugh, I have ALWAYS had an intense fear of throwing up. I will take diarrhea, a cold, body aches, coughing, ANYTHING, but NOT vomiting. It scares me, I panic, I sweat and I hate it. Luckily, I am not blood type O, which is for some reason scientifically proven to the the blood type the vomit bug likes. I drink ACV all day, I bleach door handles, and pray I go another season with no barf. I HATE IT

  3. On October 26, 2014 Jeff watts said

    Vomiting is one of my top three lifetime fears! I will do almost anything to prevent it for my family and myself. I will defiantly take the preventative steps you mentioned above! We do the grape juice as a precaution as well and so far has worked! (Knock on wood). Last Christmas our five year old woke up with the dreaded virus and I was out getting 100% pure grape juice in the middle of the night. Very hard to find on an early Christmas morning if I may add. Thank you so much for your information I will add this to our daily “stomach bug rituals”.

  4. On November 7, 2014 Kevin said

    Thank you for this article. I have suffered from Emetophobia all my life and the first news about the norovirus closing wards in hospitals in the UK has got me in a panic and it’s only the first week in November.
    I have tried NLP, hypnotherapy, psychologists and doctors and no one has been able to cure me of this.

  5. On November 18, 2014 Jamie said

    I’m not afraid of throwing up…unfortunately I struggled with alcoholism in my twenties so I’m definitely used to being hungover and nauseous. I also worked in a veterinarian office where everything I touched daily was pretty nasty. Still, I hate the stomach flu because it’s so hard to be a mom when you’re so sick. I think drinking Kombucha as often as possible really helps. The reason I’m commenting though… I had a mom who basically put me in quarentine when I was sick and wouldn’t touch me if I was sick. It kind of messed me up, my husband actually had to teach me that sick people need love and attention more than ever. When my kids are sick they get to cuddle with me and the bucket all day on the couch. Kids need love expecially when they feel so gross.

    • On January 2, 2015 jen said

      Wouldn’t it be scarier for children if someone with Emetophobia was in a panic around the children? Just curious… I do totally agree with your comment. I know how hard it is to fear such a thing… It’s not easily controlled. With time I think it gets easier… once my son throws up the first time and I get over my panic, I get used to it and learn to read him.. then cuddling comes. I just worry about the first panic.

  6. On December 17, 2014 Jill said

    I also suffer from emetophobia! I actually went for hypnosis for it. I can’t say it worked totally, but it brought some important things to my attention (like trigger words for example)!
    Your post was like reading my own journal! I haven’t even read the entire thing yet….I just had to connect and say thanks for being like me!
    I am a mom of three and TEACHER!! So, as you can guess, this has made my life a living you-know-what at times!
    Thanks for sharing.

    • On February 27, 2015 Kim said

      Jill- same! I suffer from emtophobia, I am a mom of 2, and a teacher. It is on my mind constantly!!! I am always thinking of how to prevent it and not let my kids see me be a lunatic about it. It can be really, really hard and time consuming! Any preventative tips you use for yourself and your family?

  7. On December 23, 2014 kristina said

    I have a flu bug in my house right now. My fiance and my 12 year old have been throwing up. I have a 9 month old and myself who I am trying to not catch it. Any advise, espcially for my infant. thank you

  8. On December 26, 2014 Debbie Rhoades said

    What does “with the mother” mean? from 1. Sip that Apple-Cider Vinegar (with the “Mother”) in a little bit of apple juice on a regular basis.

    • On February 1, 2015 michelle said

      The ‘mother’ is the slimy film builds up in it. That in itself may make you nauseous. 🙂

  9. On December 28, 2014 sarah said

    Just another tip: if you do catch the bug, when you feel yourself getting really hot and sweaty and your heart starts to race, strip off your clothes and take a cold shower or put ice on your neck and stomach until you are freezing cold. this should keep you from vomiting and stop the nausea. The diarrhea will probably continue though. I also suffer from a severe vomit phobia. Hope this helps ease your worries if you do get the bug, it does mine.

  10. On January 25, 2015 Sara said

    I have emetaphobia as well since I was 5. One of my biggest fears of having a child is what will I do if they throw up…PANIC! It’s scary how it can run your life. I would love to start a blog so that we can all just talk it out and maybe it would help.

  11. On January 31, 2015 Molly said

    It is comforting to see how much we are all not alone in this fear! It is so frustrating to be so consumed with the fear of something so much a part of life…especially as parents! I too have caused my oldest daughter to share my anxiety and she goes into full panic mode…crying, hiding, screaming. 🙁 We have been dealing with it this week and I told my husband how I wish I could take it in stride like he does. My whole life it has sent me into a panic. At least I know I am not alone.

  12. On March 11, 2015 Kim said

    Since there are so many emetephobes commenting here, I thought I would list this amazing website for help and also self-help.

    I am 45 and have suffered from this phobia my entire life. The anxiety is debilitating and I can feel it creeping in every October as the weather gets cold and I dread the first mention of “the stomach bug.” I used so many of the techniques on this website and I am now actually therapy sessions with the woman whose site it is (a recovered emetephobe herself). Just to make everyone feel better, she had a YEAR LONG waiting list – that’s how many of us are out there. For the first time, I actually understand how and where the phobia developed and even understanding that has helped so much. I am only about half way through her 16 sessions, but I am already so much better. This winter I took care of my 4 year old son through not one but TWO bouts of the stomach bug. It wasn’t easy by any means, but I did it. Check out her site – we are not alone.

  13. On March 22, 2015 Ileana said

    Thank you for this. Since kindergarten I’ve had that phobia. Never knew it was actual phobia until recently. When I was young I got counseled and told that it was just an anxiety and eiuld get over it. Nope never did lol but I feel relieved to see others with the same phobia and feels good not to feel alone. I have been incorporating more healthy foods in my lifestyle. I noticed eating healthier too has helped so much not just with the flu but also other sicknesses. I do remember hearing grape juice is good, does it matter the regular grape juice motts vs natural?

  14. On March 29, 2015 fc6362 said

    I’d just like to say to all of you commenting, plus the blogger – I’m on a fb support group called emetephobia support and it really helps me when I’m in such a panic. This article sounds just like me but with 4 kids :O

  15. On March 30, 2015 nicole barthel said

    I am also a sufferer of emetophobic for a long time! I cringe everyone I see people post on Facebook they have the stomach bug! I go into full panic mode, and I can’t even function! I have a son and I am so scared and always trying to prevent him from getting sick. I wash my hands constantly and I use Cloris bleach free hand sanitizer when I can’t wash! Everyone thinks I am nuts about this, so it is refreshing to see others just like me! If you guys have any other preventive measures please share!!!

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