What Is The Stomach Flu
Officially called gastroenteritis, stomach flu is an infection of the digestive systemand it’s totally unrelated to the regular flu , which affects the respiratory system. Stomach flu is the second most common illness kids get, after respiratory infections like colds. Although unpleasant, stomach flu is usually not serious. It’s usually caused by viruses, but can also come from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli, as well as some parasites.
“Babies and young children are especially prone to infection because their immune systems are still forming, so they haven’t yet built up the antibodies to fight off germs,” says Rita Steffen, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.
Does Medicine Help The Stomach Flu
Though you may want to give your child a medicine to help with stomach flu symptoms, Dr. Rojas recommends against it. Because the stomach flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help.
“Usually we just need to let the virus run its own course,” says Dr. Rojas. “Trying to take medications can prolong symptoms and make them worse.”
Dr. Rojas says the only exception to the no-medicine rule is the appropriate dose of acetaminophen if your child has a fever.
Viral Gastroenteritis In Children
Viral gastroenteritis is often called stomach flu. But it’s not really related to the flu or influenza. It’s irritation of the stomach and intestines due to infection with a virus. Most children with viral gastroenteritis get better in a few days without a healthcare providers treatment. Because a child with gastroenteritis may have trouble keeping fluids down, he or she is at risk for fluid loss and should be watched closely.
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How Long Should You Stay Home With The Stomach Flu
Stomach viruses commonly called “stomach flu” make us miserable. No one wants to spend days dealing with vomiting and diarrhea. If you add in a fever, nausea, and weakness on top of that, it adds up to misery.
Not many people consider leaving the house when the stomach flu hits. It often starts out with repeated bouts of vomiting and it’s difficult to go anywhere when you can hardly stay out of the bathroom. But sometimes the symptoms lessen but still linger and you may wonder how long you really need to stay home to keep from spreading it to other people.
This question can be even harder for parents to answer when their kids are sick. If you need to get back to work and aren’t sure if your child is well enough to go to school — what are the guidelines?
How Quickly Does The Covid
“The booster doesn’t work immediately,” Milstone stressed. While research is ongoing, early data suggests that immunity is boosted in one to two weeks. It’s very possible especially during the Thanksgiving and winter holiday season to get a booster and then get a COVID-19 infection or another seasonal illness quickly afterward.
So, if you feel feverish and achey for a day, that’s probably due to the booster. But if, two or three days after the vaccine, you still have those symptoms or you develop other signs of the infection such as a cough, “that would be a good reason to check in with your doctor and make sure that you don’t actually have COVID,” Milstone said.
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When Should I See My Doctor
See a doctor immediately if your child cannot keep down a sip of liquid or has dehydration . Babies under 6 months should always be seen by a doctor if they have gastro.
Adults and older children should seek medical advice if their symptoms include a fever, severe abdominal pain, blood in their diarrhoea or signs of dehydration, such as thirst and decreased urination, lethargy, dry mouth, sunken eyes or feeling faint when standing.
How Is Gastroenteritis Treated
There is no specific treatment for gastroenteritis, and most kids can be treated at home. Keep your child hydrated by offering plenty of liquids. Kids with more severe dehydration may need treatment in the ER or hospital.
Mild dehydration is treated with oral rehydration. This usually includes giving oral rehydration solution . It has the right amounts of water, sugar, and salt to help with dehydration. You can buy it without a prescription at drugstores or supermarkets. If you cant get oral rehydration solution, talk to your doctor.
If your child has mild dehydration and your doctor says its OK to start treatment at home:
- Give your child an oral electrolyte solution as often as possible. If your child throws up, start with small sips, about 1 or 2 teaspoons every few minutes.
- Babies can continue to breastfeed or take formula as long as they are not throwing up repeatedly.
- Don’t give babies plain water instead of oral rehydration solution. It doesn’t have the right nutrients for babies with dehydration.
- Older children can have frozen electrolyte popsicles.
- Do not give your child full-strength juice , soda, or sports drinks. These have a lot of sugar, which can make diarrhea worse.
When your child stops vomiting, you can offer small amounts of solid foods, such as toast, crackers, rice, or mashed potatoes. Yogurt, fruits, vegetables, and lean meat, like chicken, are also OK.
Don’t give medicines for diarrhea or vomiting unless your doctor tells you to.
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Urgent Advice: Get Advice From 111 Now If:
- you’re worried about a baby under 12 months
- your child stops breast or bottle feeding while they’re ill
- a child under 5 years has signs of dehydration such as fewer wet nappies
- you or your child still have signs of dehydration after using oral rehydration sachets
- you or your child keep being sick and cannot keep fluid down
- you or your child have bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from the bottom
- you or your child have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 2 days
111 will tell you what to do. They can arrange a phone call from a nurse or doctor if you need one.
Go to 111.nhs.uk or .
Get an urgent GP appointment
A GP may be able to help you.
Ask your GP practice for an urgent appointment.
Check with the GP surgery before going in. A GP may speak to you on the phone.
Stomach Bug Symptoms In Children
Common symptoms of a stomach virus in children include:
- Low-grade fever
- Weight loss
Symptoms may last for five to seven days or longer. Giardiasis can be acute or it can become chronic . Its possible for children to show no symptoms initially. Parasitic infections usually occur seven to 14 days after exposure and have long-lasting symptoms without treatment. Vomiting is rare with parasitic infections.
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When Should I Seek Medical Advice
Most children who have gastroenteritis have mild symptoms which will get better in a few days. The important thing is to ensure that they have plenty to drink. In many cases, you do not need to seek medical advice. However, you should seek medical advice in the following situations :
- If your child is under the age of 6 months.
- If your child has an underlying medical condition .
- If your child has a high temperature .
- If you suspect lack of fluid in the body is developing .
- If your child appears drowsy or confused.
- If your child is being sick and unable to keep fluids down.
- If there is blood in their diarrhoea or vomit.
- If your child has severe tummy pain.
- Infections caught abroad.
- If your child has severe symptoms, or if you feel that their condition is getting worse.
- If your child’s symptoms are not settling .
How Long Will Stomach Flu Last
Depending on the virus and your child’s immune system, the stomach flu can last anywhere from just a day or two to around 10 days. “Children tend to throw up for just the first day or two, but diarrhea can last more than a week,” says David B. Nelson, M.D., chair and professor of pediatrics at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
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What Is The Treatment For Gastroenteritis In Children
Symptoms of gastroenteritis often settle within a few days or so as a child’s immune system is usually able to clear the infection. Children can usually be treated at home. Occasionally, admission to hospital is needed if symptoms are severe, or if complications develop. For information about treatment, see the separate leaflet called Acute Diarrhoea in Children.
Note: if you suspect that your child is dehydrated, or is becoming dehydrated, you should seek medical advice urgently.
Booster Side Effects May Be Different
The side effects you experience after your booster dose may be different than what you felt after your first dose. They may be more or less severe than the ones you experienced previously, Dr. Aaron Milstone, associate hospital epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, told TODAY.
“J& J knocked me out,” Alex Ossola, who received her first dose of the vaccine soon after it became available in February, told TODAY. “I had a full-blown fever, teeth chattering just ridiculous side effects.” But her booster shot, which was the Moderna mRNA vaccine, felt much milder. “This was like nothing,” she said, adding that within 48 hours she felt completely normal.
Making matters even more confusing is the fact that some people may get their flu vaccine at the same time as the booster. That’s completely safe and a convenient way to cross both shots off your to-do list in the same appointment, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But if you do experience side effects later, it will be difficult to know which vaccine is responsible.
That’s what happened to Lindsay Mann, who received her Moderna booster alongside her flu shot last month. “I’m pretty sensitive and I have a pretty low pain tolerance,” she told TODAY, so dealing with the soreness after having one shot in each arm was a challenge. She also experienced a fever, body aches, chills and “complete exhaustion.”
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Should I Keep Giving My Child Their Normal Food If They Have Gastroenteritis
- you can offer your child food if they are hungry, even if diarrhoea continues
- continuing to feed your child can speed up recovery and can reduce the length of time your child has diarrhoea
- your child may refuse food at first – this is not a problem as long as they take fluids
- if possible do not stop giving food for more than 24 hours
- starchy simple foods are best – try and offer foods such as bread or toast, porridge, rice, potatoes, plain biscuits, yoghurt, milk pudding
General Recommendations For How Long To Stay Home
If your child is running a fever, she is contagious and is more likely to spread her germs to everyone she comes into contact with. Even without a fever, stomach viruses are highly contagious and spread easily from person to person when you have symptoms.
It can be tempting to send your child to school if they went all night without vomiting or having diarrhea, but waiting a full 24 hours after the last episode occurred is important because the symptoms could return. If you make it a full day and night with no symptoms, it is unlikely that they will reappear after that.
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How Long Are Stomach Bugs Contagious
The question of how long depends on the underlying organism, whether virus or bacteria, Dr. Delgado-Borrego says. As a rule of thumb, a child is contagious as long as theyre having diarrhea. Stomach bugs last a few days up to a couple of weeks.
The cessation of diarrhea is a common marker for when a stomach bug is no longer considered contagious. While vomiting wont last longer than 18 to 24 hours, diarrhea in infants and toddlers who have a stomach bug can sometimes last seven to 14 days, says Rashmi Jain, MD, pediatrician and founder of BabiesMD in California. During this entire time, they can still be shedding viral particles in their stools and be contagious. As pediatricians, we caution that children can be contagious until diarrhea has been resolved for a good 24 to 48 hours.
Children should be kept home from school or daycare and away from other people during this time.
Medication Is Not Usually Needed
You should not give medicines to stop diarrhoea to children under 12 years old. They sound attractive remedies but are unsafe to give to children, due to possible serious complications. However, you can give paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease a high temperature or headache.
Racecadotril is a prescription-only medicine that is occasionally prescribed to children over the age of 3 months. It helps to reduce the amount of fluid lost in the poo in children who are still getting diarrhoea with fluid replacement therapy. .
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Gastroenteritis Caused By Viruses
Viruses cause watery diarrhea. Stools rarely contain mucus or blood.
Rotavirus may last 5 to 7 days in infants and young children. Vomiting occurs in most children, and some have fever. The diarrhea is watery but does not contain blood. The diarrhea is more likely in children to cause severe dehydration Dehydration in Children Dehydration is loss of water from the body, usually caused by vomiting and/or diarrhea. Dehydration occurs when there is significant loss of body water and, to varying amounts, electrolytes… read more and even death.
Norovirus causes more vomiting than diarrhea in children and lasts only 1 to 2 days. Children have abdominal cramps and may have fever, headache, and muscle aches.
Adenovirus causes mild vomiting 1 to 2 days after diarrhea starts. The diarrhea can last 1 to 2 weeks.
Astrovirus symptoms are similar to a mild rotavirus infection.
Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A& e If You Or Your Child:
- vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
- have green or yellow-green vomit
- might have swallowed something poisonous
- have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
- have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache
- Severe pain:
- always there and so bad it’s hard to think or talk
- you cannot sleep
- it’s very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
- Moderate pain:
- makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
- you can manage to get up, wash or dress
- Mild pain:
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How To Safely Manage Covid
Most COVID-19 booster shot side effects can be safely managed with over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, Milstone said. But he cautions against taking those medications before getting your shot. For one thing, you might not actually end up needing them, he said.
Additionally, there is some concern that they might interfere with the way the vaccine works, so the CDC also recommends not taking those medications before your appointment.
To help relieve any discomfort after the shot, the CDC also suggests making sure you drink enough water, gently use the arm in which you got the injection, and applying a cool compress on the arm.
Fever And Young Children
Use a digital thermometer to check your childs temperature. Dont use a mercury thermometer. There are different kinds and uses of digital thermometers. They include:
Rectal. For children younger than 3 years, a rectal temperature is the most accurate.
Forehead . This works for children age 3 months and older. If a child under 3 months old has signs of illness, this can be used for a first pass. The provider may want to confirm with a rectal temperature.
Ear . Ear temperatures are accurate after 6 months of age, but not before.
Armpit . This is the least reliable but may be used for a first pass to check a child of any age with signs of illness. The provider may want to confirm with a rectal temperature.
Mouth . Dont use a thermometer in your childs mouth until he or she is at least 4 years old.
Use the rectal thermometer with care. It may accidentally injure the rectum. It may pass on germs from the stool. Label it and make sure its not used in the mouth. Follow the product makers directions for correct use. If you dont feel OK using a rectal thermometer, ask the healthcare provider what type to use instead. When you talk with any healthcare provider about your childs fever, tell him or her which type you used.
Below are guidelines to know if your young child has a fever. Your childs healthcare provider may give you different numbers for your child. Follow your providers specific instructions.
A baby under 3 months old:
A child age 3 months to 36 months :
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