When To Contact A Doctor For Infants And Children
Infants and children are particularly susceptible to complications from viral gastroenteritis. A caregiver should talk with a healthcare professional for advice if they are concerned.
Seek help if the child has any of the following symptoms or signs:
- drowsiness, irritability, lack of energy
- diarrhea lasting longer than 24 hours
What Are The Symptoms Of Stomach Flu In Kids
According to Dr. Tina Q. Tan, attending physician, Division of Infectious Diseases at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Childrens Hospital of Chicago, stomach flu symptoms typically appear 24-48 hours after exposure to the virus. Heres what to look for:
Nausea and vomiting.
With babies and toddlers, look for fever, fussiness, vomiting and diarrhea, Tan explains. They may not be able to verbalize nausea or abdominal cramping.
Children With Gastroenteritis Must Keep Drinking
If your child has gastroenteritis, make sure they drink clear fluids . Babies under 6 months old can become ill quickly with gastro they need extra fluids to replace fluids lost by diarrhoea and vomiting.
If you are breastfeeding, continue to do this. If bottle feeding, give clear fluids for the first 12 hours, then give the normal formula in smaller, more frequent amounts.It is important for the fluids to be taken even if the diarrhoea seems to get worse. It will help if you:
- Offer babies a drink every time they vomit.
- Give older children a drink after every big vomit or bout of diarrhoea.
- Give small amounts of fluids often if your child is vomiting a lot .
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What If My Child Needs To Take Medication
If your child has a high fever and is vomiting you can ask the pharmacist about using an acetaminophen suppository. If your child throws up a prescription medication, contact your pediatrician to find out what to do. Sometimes a prescription for Zofran can help decrease nausea and vomitingwhich can also be a great way to give the child a much-need rest from vomiting.
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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How Can I Prevent Viral Gastroenteritis
You can take several steps to keep from getting or spreading infections that cause viral gastroenteritis. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water
- after using the bathroom
- after changing diapers
- before and after handling, preparing, or eating food
You can clean surfaces that may have come into contact with infected stool or vomit, such as countertops and changing tables, with a mixture of 5 to 25 tablespoons of household bleach and 1 gallon of water.7 If clothes or linens may have come into contact with an infected persons stool or vomit, you should wash them with detergent for the longest cycle available and machine dry them. To protect yourself from infection, wear rubber gloves while handling the soiled laundry and wash your hands afterward.7
If you have viral gastroenteritis, avoid handling and preparing food for others while you are sick and for 2 days after your symptoms stop.7 People who have viral gastroenteritis may spread the virus to any food they handle, especially if they do not thoroughly wash their hands. Contaminated water may also spread a virus to foods before they are harvested. For example, contaminated fruits, vegetables, and oysters have been linked to norovirus outbreaks. Wash fruits and vegetables before using them, and thoroughly cook oysters and other shellfish.7Find tips to help keep food safe.
What To Feed A Toddler With Stomach Flu
You can safely feed the following food items to your toddler with stomach flu:
- Bananas can help control loose stools and are often recommended for children with stomach flu. Mash the banana and give small bites whenever your little one feels hungry.
- Apples are also light on the stomach and ensure your baby gets nutrition.
- Broth is great since it is mostly liquid. You can prepare a chicken or vegetable broth for your baby to replenish the essential micronutrients that are lost due to diarrhea and vomiting.
- Oats and rice are mild on the stomach and are easier to digest. You can mash boiled rice and give it to the toddler. Oats are rich in fiber and free of gluten. They keep your little ones tummy full for longer.
- Crackers and toast make an excellent snack for toddlers with gastroenteritis. You can give them between meals.
- Yogurt is a probiotic and is often recommended for adults with stomach flu. The good thing about it is that you can give it your child too. You can introduce yogurt at the age of nine months. Start with small quantities and slowly make it a part of the babys meals. Do note you can give cows milk to a child only after the age of 12 months .
Feed your baby or toddler only when they are receptive to food. Feed them small portions over a few intervals but do not force-feed them. Excess feeding can induce vomiting and make the condition worse. Treatment, along with home care, is essential to halt the progress of stomach flu and prevent complications.
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Treatment For The Stomach Flu
Most babies and kids wont need treatment for the stomach flu. Theres no specific treatment for the viruses that cause it.
Unless your doctor recommends it, dont give your child antidiarrheal and anti-nausea medications. Although it doesnt seem like it, some diarrhea and throwing up can be good because its part of getting rid of the virus.
Your doctor might recommend over-the-counter pain relievers to make your child more comfortable.
Never give aspirin to babies and children. Aspirin and children dont mix. It can lead to a condition called Reyes syndrome.
Several home remedies can help make your baby or child more comfortable while dealing with the stomach flu.
- Let the stomach settle. Avoid feeding your baby or child solid food for a few hours.
- Give older children frozen juice treats or ice chips. This helps to prevent dehydration.
- If your baby is throwing up, wait 15 to 20 minutes before giving them any liquids. Try nursing your baby if they want to feed. Drinking milk may help hydrate your baby its OK if they throw up some or all of it right after.
- Try using as syringe to give babies small amounts of liquids if they dont want to nurse or bottle feed.
How Do You Treat A Child’s Stomach Virus
The best ways to treat the stomach flu in kids are hydration and rest. “For hydration, use a rehydration solution that’s available in any store and over the counter,” says Dr. Rojas. “Start with small sips and increase gradually, so they don’t vomit it up.”
Water alone may not be enough to rehydrate kids safely, especially younger children. Kids lose electrolytes when they vomit or have diarrhea. This can lead to low sodium in the blood, a dangerous situation. A rehydration solution, like Pedialyte, replenishes fluids and electrolytes. Broth can also be helpful.
You can also make a rehydration solution at home by combining 4 ¼ cups of water, 6 teaspoons of sugar and a ½ teaspoon of salt.
Dr. Rojas also recommends lots of rest for children. Rest can help the digestive system settle and heal.
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Symptoms Of The Stomach Flu
The stomach flu typically causes two other dreaded things for parents : vomiting and diarrhea. In fact, the stomach flu usually looks a lot worse than it is. Your baby or child may have cycles of vomiting and diarrhea for about 24 hours.
If your child has the stomach flu, they may have hard-to-miss signs and symptoms like:
- stomach pain and cramps
If your baby has the stomach flu, the may also be crying and irritable and who wouldnt be with these symptoms? Babies with the stomach flu are less likely to have a fever. Rest assured that this common tummy bug typically goes away quickly and by itself.
Kids And The Stomach Flu
Gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, is inflammation in the digestive tract, including the stomach and the small and large intestines. It is very common, especially in children. Although gastroenteritis is sometimes called stomach flu, the seasonal influenza virus does not cause it. It is most commonly caused by a virus, such as the rotavirus, but may also be caused by bacteria or parasites. Vaccines are available to protect children from rotavirus. Your pediatrician can explain your options for vaccinating your baby.
CAUSES AND SYMPTOMSViruses that cause the stomach flu can be found in the vomit and diarrhea of infected people. They can live for a long time outside the body. People who are infected with the virus can spread it to objects they touch, especially if they do not wash their hands after using the bathroom or changing a diaper.
Symptoms of the stomach flu usually begin about one to two days after the virus gets into the body. Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting and watery diarrhea. Other possible symptoms are headache, fever, chills and stomachache.
THE DANGERS OF DEHYDRATIONThe most dangerous consequence of the stomach flu is dehydration, says Dr. Jeffrey Ho, CHOC pediatric gastroenterologist. Infants and young children in particular can become dehydrated very easily. Call your childs doctor right away if you notice any signs of dehydration.
In rare cases, children may need treatment for severe dehydration with IV fluids.
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When Should I Seek Help For My Child With Gastroenteritis
You should see your doctor or after hours medical centre urgently if:
- your child has vomiting and/or diarrhoea and is less than 6 months old babies can become dehydrated and unwell quickly
- your child is drowsy and difficult to rouse
- your child has a lot of diarrhoea
- there is blood or mucus in your child’s poo
- vomiting is increasing or your child cannot keep fluids down
- your child starts vomiting green fluid
- your child develops severe stomach pains
- your child shows signs of dehydration
- you are concerned for any other reason
You should see your doctor if:
- your child’s diarrhoea continues for more than 10 days
Dial 111 within New Zealand for urgent medical help if you are very concerned about your child.
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Preventing The Stomach Flu
You might not be able to stop your child from catching the stomach flu but you can try. You can at least prevent it from happening as often.
The best way to prevent the stomach flu is wash your hands and wash them again. Teach your child how to wash their hands properly and to wash them often. Use warm water and soap. Set a timer or have your child sing as song so that they scrub their hands for at least 20 seconds.
Here are more ways to help prevent your child from catching and spreading the virus:
- Keep your sick child home and away from other children.
- Teach your child to wash their hands properly several times a day, especially after using the bathroom and before eating.
- Show your child how they can cover their mouth and nose with a tissue or the inner side of their elbow when sneezing and coughing.
- Tell your child not to share drink boxes, bottles, spoons, and other eating utensils.
- Clean hard surfaces like counters and nightstands with a mixture of detergent, vinegar, and water. Some viruses can survive for up to 24 hours on hard surfaces and even on clothing.
- Wash your childs toys in warm soapy water regularly, especially if the stomach flu or other viruses are going around.
- Use separate bathroom towels for each family member.
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What Kinds Of Viruses Cause Viral Gastroenteritis
Many different viruses can cause viral gastroenteritis. The most common causes of viral gastroenteritis include
- norovirus. Norovirus is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis. Symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after you come into contact with the virus and last 1 to 3 days.2
- rotavirus. Symptoms usually begin about 2 days after you come into contact with the virus and last for 3 to 8 days.3Vaccines can prevent rotavirus infection.
- adenovirus. Symptoms typically begin 3 to 10 days after you come into contact with the virus and last 1 to 2 weeks.4
- astrovirus. Symptoms typically begin 4 to 5 days after you come into contact with the virus and last 1 to 4 days.5,6
Norovirus causes infections in people of all ages. Rotavirus, adenovirus, and astrovirus most often infect infants and young children, but they can also infect adults.
Viruses may cause viral gastroenteritis any time of the year. In the United States, norovirus, rotavirus, and astrovirus are more likely to cause infections in the winter.
When Should I Take My Child To The Doctor For Stomach Flu
Symptoms of gastroenteritis typically go away on their own after about two days, but Udeshi and Tan recommend contacting a healthcare provider for the following in kids of all ages:
Vomiting that lasts more than several consecutive hours.
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How Do Children Catch The Stomach Flu
Stomach bugs are highly contagious. Playing with an infected child is the main way the virus spreads, since germs can live on toys and clothes for hours or even days. If the infection results from bacteria or parasites, your child may have consumed contaminated food or water .
What makes stomach flu particularly virulent is that children are contagious before they actually show any symptoms. Also, adults with their heartier immune systems may harbor the germs and pass them along without ever getting sick themselves.