What foods can I eat when I have the flu?

What foods can I eat when I have the flu?


  • If your symptoms include fever and/or vomiting, contact your doctor. The strains of flu this season can be life-threatening.
  • If you are vomiting, don’t eat or drink for up to 1 hour after the latest instance. Then try 2 ounces of water or flat lemon-lime carbonated beverages. If that stays down, then repeat one of these beverages every 15 – 30 minutes.
  • When vomiting has stopped for a few hours, start drinking more liquids to replace the loss of body fluids. Water, tea, fruit juice, fruit drinks, carbonated beverages, broth-based soups or prepared gelatin. Green gelatin is not a favorite though among people with vomiting.
  • Gradually add other foods as tolerated. Buttered or plain white toast without liquids at the same meal or any food that does not cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or allergic reaction is allowed.
  • If you have a fever and no vomiting, drink plenty of cold or iced liquids as above.
  • If you have a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit and/or diarrhea, contact your doctor.
  • To help control diarrhea symptoms, try banana, apple juice, applesauce, tea, rice or rice cereal without milk. These foods should help reduce your symptoms because banana and apple have pectin, a soluble fiber that helps gel watery stool.
  • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap to prevent the spread of the flu virus. Use the paper towels you dry your hands with to turn off the water faucet and open the door to bathrooms. The flu virus is spread by aerosol droplets deposited on the mucous surfaces of the eyes, mouth and upper respiratory tract so keep a distance from people who sneeze. Good hand washing technique is important in reducing exposure to the flu. Use of alcohol hand sanitizers is effective at reducing exposure to the flu virus during flu season.
  • Wash all eating or drinking utensils in hot soapy water or in a dishwasher after each use. Use glasses and silverware once then wash to limit the spread of the virus. Remember to wash the bathroom drinking cup too. If you are too sick to wash dishes, use disposable dishes, cups, and silverware.
  • If you have the flu, stay home rather than spreading the flu virus at work or school. Definitely stay home if you are vomiting, have a fever or diarrhea.
  • Remember to get plenty of rest. If you are having problems getting to sleep, switch to decaffeinated tea, herbal tea or decaffeinated carbonated beverages.
  • As your flu symptoms subside, gradually increase your food intake back to normal for you. Your appetite for food should increase as you get better.