Stomach Flu

Kids get tummy aches often, usually from overeating sweets or getting too hot or too tired. When a tummy ache becomes more than just a tummy ache, it could be what is called by most people the “stomach ‘flu.”

It really isn’t a ‘flu, but it’s caused by a virus, too. Gastroenteritis is the proper name for the problem and it usually only lasts one or two days.

If your child has stomach cramps, diarrhea, a fever and feels sick to his stomach or actually throws up and there is no other reason for it, he probably has the stomach ‘flu.

Your child won’t have much energy and won’t want to eat, which is fine, but be sure to offer him liquids of any kind he will drink them. Bland liquids work best, but if he wants something else, give it to him. Even if he throws it up, some of it will stay down.

It’s a trying time for a parent, but be as cheerful as you can and don’t blame the child for the extra laundry!

Watch your child closely because it could be food poisoning instead. It’s very hard to tell the difference and most food poisoning is over in about the same length of time, but the stomach distress can be much worse.

If your child sweats, becomes dizzy, seems mentally confused, has partial loss of speech or sight, has a hard time swallowing or has an especially dry mouth, don’t hesitate to call the doctor. Food poisoning can be much more serious than the stomach ‘flu.

If your child refuses to drink even lukewarm water and his fever rises above 104 degrees, take him to the emergency room because he is probably dangerously dehydrated.

There is no cure for the stomach ‘flu and no vaccine or medicine that will stop it. All you can do is make your child as comfortable as possible, offer bland liquids until he quits throwing up, then offer liquids like chicken broth or juice.

As he begins to feel better, offer foods that are easy to digest, like boiled eggs, crackers or bananas. If he refuses food, don’t make him try to eat. His body knows when it is ready.

Be sure to wash your hands often and don’t allow other children into the sick room, because stomach ‘flu is contagious. Wash all bedding and clothing in very hot water.

In a couple of days, your young one will be back to his bouncy self!

This article is for informational purposes only. You should contact your doctor with specific concerns or changes to your or your child’s health.