It’s that special time of year!
No, I’m not talking about Christmas. I’m talking about the time of year when our little ones manage to catch every virus and bacterium floating around their schools and day cares. They lovingly bring these illnesses home and share them with the entire family.
Sharing is not always caring and if you find yourself face-to-face with the dreaded stomach bug, this article will have you well prepared to boot this sickness right out the door!
What is the Stomach Flu?
Stomach flu, or gastroenteritis, is an infection of the digestive system that especially targets the stomach and intestines. A stomach flu can be caused by a parasite, bacteria or a viral infection. The problems start with stomach upset, cramps, a disinterest in eating and weakness.
Symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting which can take nearly five days to pass. Sometimes fever can accompany these symptoms along with dehydration.
Treating the Stomach Flu
Lots of Liquids
If your little one is suffering from this dreaded flu, the most important thing to do is to keep him or her hydrated by giving fluids regularly. Loss of water from the body is the biggest risk in stomach flu and dehydration can worsen the condition.
Since there is loss of salts along with the loss of water from the body, plain water may not be enough. Oral re-hydration solutions, such as Pedialyte, is preferable because it contains the right combination of salts, sugar and water to properly hydrate the body.
Fluids such as soft drinks, sports drinks, apple juice, tea and chicken broth do not contain the right amount of salt, sugar and water and should be given sparingly along with an oral re-hydration solution.
Additional medicines should be given only after consulting a medical practitioner. If your child is vomiting or having diarrhea, avoid spicy and sugary foods. If your child is vomiting and having a hard time keeping down foods and drinks, your child can suck on ice chips in order to slowly and constantly supply fluid to the body.
If the child isn’t receiving sufficient amount of fluids he or she will show signs such as sunken eyes, dry mouth, intense thirst, unusual sleep patterns and a decrease in urine.
Plenty of Rest
The more rest your child can get, the better. A child with the stomach flu should have complete bed rest for at least 24 hours or until the diarrhea and vomiting stop. If these symptoms persist beyond 24 hours, it is important to make a doctor’s appointment.
When to Contact a Doctor
If the vomit or diarrhea contains blood or a green-colored substance, your child should be seen immediately.
A doctor should also be contacted if your child has a high fever that doesn’t stop increasing. Monitor your little one’s fever by taking his or her temperature every 4 hours and write it down – if have to take your child to a doctor they may want to see a temperature pattern.
The stomach flu is a terrible, yet common, ordeal for your child to experience. With the proper care, rest and love, your child should make a quick and full recovery. At any point that you feel there is something more serious happening than a stomach bug never hesitate to take your child to their doctor.