Stomach Bug & The Most Embarrassing Day Of My Life

Stomach Bugs & The Most Embarrassing Day Of My Life

It was the most embarrassing day of my life!  A stomach bug caused me to throw up for the first time ever...while presenting a seminar to a large audience!

And I'll share the most amazing option for dealing with stomach bugs when they strike.


I was a twenty-something bachelor at the time.  Having presented dozens of seminars at small to medium-sized venues, this was my first time to speak at a large location with potentially thousands of attendees.

I was excited and intimidated at the same time.  It was exciting to help folks learn about things that I am super passionate about.  You know, things like off-grid power, country living, and independent living.

In the middle of sharing the most valuable tips that I could pack into one-hour slots, it happened.  If memory serves me right, it was the third day out of 5.

While presenting from the front of the large auditorium, my stomach started feeling very strange and very bad.  It had been coming on slowly for hours.

Confused, I couldn’t figure out what was happening.  I fought valiantly against this unknown foe, but at last, I was overcome.  I collapsed into a chair at the front and expected to pass out.

Instead, I emptied my stomach on the floor in front of the entire audience.

As far as I know, it was the first time in my life to have ever thrown up.  I couldn’t have asked for a more prestigious introduction to the wonderful world of upchucking :-).

The Aftermath

What proceeded was a confusing blur of events that taught me how to deal with a stomach bug naturally at home.

I was rushed to the on-site doctor and examined (while throwing up a couple more times).   The doctor’s order was to go to the emergency room and get an I.V. for possible dehydration (even though I had no symptoms of dehydration).

While I’m not a medical expert, I have many family members who are and I was trained as an EMT.  I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday and I wasn’t buying it.  Go to the E.R. because I had thrown up a few times???

Unfortunately, I was all by myself and had no transportation, so I was at the mercy of those around me.  I plead and plead for charcoal until a kind soul found some capsules, but the doctor wouldn’t allow me to take more than 1 or 2 of them.  She treated the charcoal as if it was some kind of dangerous drug.

I finally put my foot down and said “No” to the E.R. trip.  “Just take me back to my motel room and let me sleep, please.”  Finally, the person that invited me to speak said: “If the man wants to go back to his room, I think we should let him.”  So after signing my life away on a medical release form, I finally made it back to my motel room and crawled into bed.

It was a rough night with continued bouts of throwing up every time I tried drinking liquids.  Now I was starting to get concerned about dehydration since I wasn’t able to drink.

The Mediocre Stomach Bug Protocol

A quick call to a doctor friend gave me the tip I needed to limp through the night.  Just take a tiny sip of ginger ale every once in a while.  The upchucking finally stopped and I slept that night and stayed mostly in bed the next day while recovering slowly.

It worked since the stomach bug wasn’t extremely bad, but I think I would have run into trouble if it had been more violent.

When to Go To The Doctor

The on-site doctor in my story was being rather ridiculous.  She insisted that I go to the ER after throwing up a few times in a half hour, which was way overkill in my situation.  But there are times when you should.

The Mayo Clinic lists several situations in which you should be seen by a doctor if suffering from Viral Gastroenteritis (which is what I had).  They say you should see a doctor if you are:

  • Unable to keep liquids down for more than 24 hours
  • Vomiting for more than 2 days
  • Vomiting blood
  • Showing signs of dehydration (such as excessive thirst, deep yellow or no urine, etc)
  • Have blood in bowel movements
  • Have a fever above 104°F (40°C)
  • Have an infant or child with a fever over 102°F (38.9°C) or who shows any signs of dehydration, among other things (see source for more details)

Modern medicine has no effective treatment for Viral gastroenteritis, so you will probably receive supportive treatment only.  This consists of medication to help reduce symptoms (nausea, vomiting, etc) and perhaps an IV to prevent dehydration.  If your stomach bug is of an acute bacterial variety, you may be given antibiotics.  But generally, it's simply a matter of keeping you hydrated and comfortable while your body takes care of the bug itself.

However, after I got home, a doctor shared a remarkable natural treatment for stomach bugs that leaves modern medicine's approach in the dust.  And it's so simple!

The Amazingly Effective Stomach Bug Protocol

When I got home, another doctor friend who treats patients naturally gave me a different protocol to follow (in case I ever catch that terrible stomach bug again).  And while I haven’t had the opportunity to try it myself (YAY!), both of my children have.

And wow!  I am simply amazed at its effectiveness and simplicity!  As soon as you realize it’s a stomach bug (for instance, vomiting every time you drink anything), start this protocol.  It’s really simple.

The only item required is activated charcoal (that link and future one are for a great charcoal powder on Amazon that helps our blog without costing you a penny).

Here’s what the doctor said…

7 Steps

  1. Mix a quarter teaspoon of activated charcoal powder in a small glass of water or other liquid.  If you wanted, you could take charcoal capsules, but we like the powdered charcoal mixed with liquids as it gets into the stomach and starts working right away rather than waiting for the gel cap to dissolve.
  2. Take a small sip of that charcoal drink.  Start very small and wait several minutes before taking another sip.
  3. You will likely throw up that first sip of charcoal drink.  That’s okay.  The charcoal made it in your tummy and attached to some of the bad guys and took them out when you threw up.  If you do throw up, wait several minutes and then take another sip.
  4. You’ll likely throw that sip up as well.  Once again that’s okay.  Just keep sipping a little bit at a time as you can handle it.
  5. Generally, after 3 or 4 bouts of the above (sipping and throwing up), the throwing up will subside and you’ll be able to sip without unloading your stomach.  Keep at the sipping but don’t overdo it.
  6. After it seems you are finished with throwing up, start working on getting a good amount of fluids (without charcoal) in your system.  Preferably it should be fluids that will replace electrolytes that were lost from all the throwing up.  You know, things like coconut water, watered down grape juice with salt added, or Gatorade (yes, I know it’s ingredients are not ideal, but you NEED those electrolytes).
  7. If you find that your vomiting is continuing even after several sessions with the charcoal, you might want to take a quick trip to the doctor for something to stop the vomiting and perhaps an IV if you have lost enough fluids.

We recently got a chance to try out this advice with our small children.

They both came down with a fairly violent stomach bug and were throwing up.  We followed the above protocol and both of them stopped vomiting after the 3rd sip of charcoal drink.  And get this…they were feeling better in a couple hours and were pretty much back to normal by the end of the day!  Pretty amazing stuff!

More Details

Want more info on activated charcoal?  Check out the post below with more info on how we use it on our homestead:

How We Use Charcoal At Our Homestead

How do you handle stomach bugs?
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Nick Meissner

Nick Meissner’s adventure with homesteading and off-grid living began in the late '90s with a less-than-bare-bones budget. Over the past 12 years, Nick has taught thousands of people about renewable energy, homesteading, water systems, and independence in general. He's deeply in love with his beautiful wife Lisa and thoroughly enjoys their two children.

  • Frances Poole says:

    Thankyou for that advice.Will charcoal liquid have a use by date. I only have dry charcoal.Also do you use mineralised salt eg Himalayan or sea salt. I presume the intravenous salt would be watered sodium chloride.

  • David says:

    I had food poisoning that made me throw up. Seventh-day Adventist doctors taught me over 40 years ago to use activated charcoal for most kinds of poisoning. My mistake was that I did not "sip". I drank a cup of water with my charcoal. I kept throwing up 3 more times. My wife taught me to drink only half a cup of water instead - that helped stop the vomiting.

  • Barb says:

    Instead of Gatorade, my husband likes Zero that has electrolytes without sugar! He drinks it regularly during/after being outside in the heat. It comes in many different flavors.

    • Lisa Meissner says:

      Very nice! Our family favorite for electrolytes is actually Coconut Water.

    • JM says:

      I too used Gatorade ZERO until I found it contained a dangerous form of sweetener. Now I use the packets I get from Amazon or Costco. They cost the same as a bottle of Gatorade Zero but have more electrolytes and other nutrients your body needs if you become dehydrated. I love that that take up very little space in my pantry and I can keep some in my care for quick access.

      I’ll post the name of the packets in a few minutes In case you decide to them a try.

      • JM says:

        This is JM.
        The name of the replacement for Gatorade or Gatorade Zero is Liquid I.V. Hydration Multiplier. It has 28 pouches and is comparable in price with buying individual bottles of any type of Gatorade.
        You can purchase it on Am____n dot com or in Costco. You’ll love it

  • Grace says:

    I add colloidal silver to the charcoal water and pray for God's healing touch.

  • Annemarie Welch says:

    I have found that 2-4 tablespoons of Pepto-Bismol at the first sign of queasiness will rapidly settle things down. It is best taken before or at least promptly after the first vomiting, and will prevent excessive fluid loss and dehydration which would possibly be hard to treat in the wilderness.

  • Richard Kocher says:

    I usually recommend Emetrol or coke syrup. It probably would do well to add activated charcoal to either one.

  • 2failing says:

    3vampire

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