A stomach virus can seem like a scary affair when they affect a child. If there's diarrhea and vomiting, it may make you think things are far more serious than they are. Stomach viruses aren't typically serious. There's a few things you can do to help ease both you and your child through their ordeal.
How the Stomach Virus Works
You may hear other terms for the stomach virus.
- Stomach flu
Technically, specific types of viruses, such as the rotavirus, cause gastroenteritis, which is the umbrella term for various types of stomach viruses. No matter the name, it's a condition that can lead to your child throwing up or having frequent, watery stool. It's actually a very common condition, so you should expect it to happen at some point or another, if it hasn't already.
When a virus invades your child's intestine, it causes inflammation. That's what leads to the diarrhea and vomiting. It can also lead to headaches and fever as well. The virus usually strikes in the winter. It's highly contagious, so it usually sweeps through multiple children, and adults as well, when it's in season.
What to Do If Your Child has a Stomach Virus
Usually, you won't have much to worry about except the cleanup. The stomach virus typically lasts from a few days to a week. The vomiting will usually last for a couple of days, but the diarrhea can last a little longer, even after they virus is over.
There's usually no need for medication as the stomach virus is more of a waiting game. It will run its course, and then leave your child's body. If your child seems especially miserable, only use anti-diarrhea medications with FDA approval for use with children. Although, the best thing is to let the virus leave your child's system through the expedience of the vomiting and diarrhea.
Also, make sure you keep your child hydrated. Water works well, but you can also use a children's electrolyte solution to help them along and replenish nutrients. Keep in mind, you should not let your child eat or drink immediately after they vomit. Give their stomachs 15 to 30 minutes to rest.
When You Should See the Pediatrician
The stomach virus should start and end fairly quickly. However, there's various scenarios in which you should take your child to see the pediatrician.
- If symptoms don't lessen after a day or two
- If you see signs of dehydration
- If you see blood in your child's vomit or stool
- If your child cannot keep down any food or water
If you must satisfy your own peace of mind, then go ahead and call up the pediatrician immediately. He or she can give you further guidance on taking care of your child while they're dealing with the stomach virus.
For additional information, you will want to contact Kitsap Children's Clinic LLP.