It’s not actually the flu, but gastroenteritis.
If your child suddenly has an attack of diarrhea and vomiting, and he suffers a stomachache, you might think to yourself, “stomach flu.”
No, not really.
What’s frequently called “stomach flu” is gastroenteritis, an infection of the stomach and intestinal tracts. The flu, or influenza, is different. It causes fevers, sore throats, runny noses, and general aches and discomforts. It usually does not cause stomach problems.
Viral infections are the normal cause of gastroenteritis. Bacteria can often bring it on.
The sickness normally passes in about 10 days without medication. The first couple of days have the tendency to be the worst, but you can take actions in order to help your child survive this tough time.
Give great deals of fluid. The most significant threat from gastroenteritis is dehydration. Your child’s body loses more fluids than it takes in. So, the most vital thing you can do is keep your child hydrated, says Andrew Nowalk, MD, PhD. He’s an assistant teacher of pediatrics at Children’s Healthcare facility of Pittsburgh.
Not just any fluid will do. Water is good, but sometimes, it might not be enough. It will not replace the essential electrolytes (salt and minerals) your child’s body loses when it’s dehydrated.
Beverages that do change salt and minerals are called electrolyte solutions, or oral rehydration solutions. You can buy them at your regional drug shop. They can even be bottle-fed to infants.
Some sports drinks promise to replace electrolytes as well. They have a great deal of sugar, however are okay for the majority of school-age children and teenagers. They’re not a great idea for extremely children, however, says Peggy Pelish, PhD. She’s a pediatric nurse specialist with the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing.
Keep children away from milk. It can make stomach problems even worse. If you’re the parent of a young baby, talk with your doctor about breastfeeding or formula.
Drinks that have a great deal of acid (orange juice) or caffeine can likewise cause belly problems.
Too much of even the right type of liquid can make vomiting even worse, so take it slow initially. Attempt 1 teaspoon every 4 to 5 minutes, Nowalk states.
Present food gradually. As soon as your child can drink liquid and keep it down, you can start including food. However keep it bland. Attempt bread, potatoes, plain yogurt, crackers, rice, toast, and bananas first. When you know those are going down all right, you can try lean meat and prepared vegetables.
Don’t give your sick child foods that are fried, spicy, fatty, or have a lot of acid. They can make stomach issues worse.
Skip over the counter meds. With gastroenteritis, time truly is the best medication. Viewing your child suffer might tempt you to give him over-the-counter medications. As tough as it is, do not do it. Not only will most medications not assist, they might even make it worse.
Ibuprofen can upset your child’s stomach even more, and acetaminophen can cause liver issues. Antibiotics don’t assist against viruses (although they do against bacteria). And anti-diarrhea medications can make the infection last longer. They can also be harmful for very kids.
There is one exception: If your child has a fever, you can give them acetaminophen or Ibuprofen to bring it down. Besides that, stick to fluids and dull foods.
When to See Your Doctor
A lot of cases of gastroenteritis disappear on their own. See the doctor if the vomiting and diarrhea continues more than a few days, or if you notice any signs of dehydration like:
- Not urinating
- Dry mouth
- Crying without tears
- Fever over 102 F.
- Lack of energy.
- Soft spot on the top of the baby’s head is sunken.
- Blood or pus in stool, or dark tarry stool.
Your child may have to get checked faster if they have other conditions, such as diabetes, that put them at greater risk for fluid loss.
Prevention Is the Best Medicine.
Follow these simple steps.
- Get your child vaccinated versus rotavirus, which is the most typical cause of gastroenteritis.
- Wash hands typically with warm soap and water, especially when you use the bathroom, modification diapers, and before and after you manage food. “Excellent soap and water hand-washing is most likely our best security,” Nowalk states.
- Wash all fruits and vegetables before consuming them. Cook meat all the way through. This might avoid gastroenteritis triggered by bacteria.
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