Gastroenteritis, or commonly known as stomach flu, is the second most common illness children get, after respiratory infections like colds and coughs. For the uninitiated, it is an infection of the stomach and intestines generally caused by viral infections.
While most stomach flu cases are usually not serious and easily treatable, it’s an unpleasant experience for both parent and kid.
What causes stomach flu?
Doctors say the illness can be caused by exposure to a virus through person-to-person contact, or contact with a contaminated surface. In addition, eating contaminated food or drinking sullied water can also cause gastroenteritis.
According to What To Expect, rotavirus is the leading cause of stomach flu and diarrhea in infants, toddlers, as well as little kids. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that most children had been infected with rotavirus once by the age of 2 and nearly all had had at least one by 5. On top of that, children are most likely to get infected by the contagious bug between November and May.
The symptoms of stomach flu include:
- Diarrhea (lasting three to eight days)
- Lack of appetite
- Lethargic or irritable
- Signs of dehydration
- Persistent abdominal pain
How can I treat stomach flu?
As WebMD explains, stomach flu usually passes in about 10 days without medication. Here are some remedies that may provide relief from the most difficult symptoms and help get your child recover:
- Keep your child hydrated: The biggest danger from gastroenteritis is dehydration. So fluids are critically important since your child is losing water through all the sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea. Also, stay clear of milk, caffeinated drinks, and drinks with high acidity like orange juice.
- Avoid fatty and sugary foods: Instead, feed your child bland foods such as toast, rice, bananas, rice, crackers, as well as soup.
- Rest is crucial: But if your child has been asleep more than 4 hours (and has been having diarrhea or vomiting), do keep in mind to wake him or her to offer fluids.
- Reduce fever: Use acetaminophen or ibuprofen to bring your child’s fever down. This srep may help relieve other aches and pains too.
Is stomach flu preventable?
The answer is yes! Here are some ways to prevent it:
- Be sure to get your child vaccinated against rotavirus.
- Wash hands with soap and water – especially after every diaper change, bathroom use, as well as before and after handling food.
- Handle all foods with care. For example, wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them and make sure meats are well-cooked.
- Disinfect your child’s changing-table area and toys.
However, if your child’s diarrhea has blood in it or has been throwing up for more than two days, you should contact your doctor immediately!