Gastroenteritis is often called Stomach flu. Stomach flu is basically an infection of the stomach or intestines. Viral infections are usually a cause of gastroenteritis. Stomach flu in kids and toddlers are very common.
The symptoms of stomach flu in kids are diarrhea and vomiting but it may cause fever too.
Lately, both of my kids have been vomiting and having diarrhea, one day no fever and the other day fever at about 99 degrees.
Just like every concerned mom, I made an appointment with my kids’ pediatrician. It is always a great practice to call your doctor but sometimes it is better to give it some time to see how things turn out in case of no fever or less than 100 degrees.
How to treat stomach flu in toddlers
This is what my kids’ pediatrician advised for stomach flu in toddlers.
Lots of fluids
It is very likely your child is losing lots of fluids due to vomiting and loose motions. Dehydration is the biggest concern for this condition called gastroenteritis. However, giving your child lots of fluid may help to keep her hydrated.
Kids do not really feel like eating or drinking anything at this time when they are feeding sick already. Moreover, they are unable to stomach everything and their appetite is not very active due to this viral infection or seasonal allergies.
Feed liquids in a very small amount. If they are able to stomach that, you can increase the quantity gradually.
For kids, Pedialyte is a great source of electrolytes, that have minerals, sugar, and salts which they need to regain their hydration level.
You can water-down Gatorade to make sure they take in all those essential minerals, salt, and sugar.
Try to avoid caffeinated drinks or acidic like orange juice, etc. as it may cause more discomfort.
Semi-solid or light food
If your child is able to take in liquids and not throwing up more frequently, you can try feeding soup.
Bone broth or vegetable broth is a very healthy and a great source of energy. Do not give solid or semi-solid food for a day or two depending on how frequently your child is throwing up or passing stool.
If your child is fond of Chicken Corn soup, then this is an ideal meal for her and trust me it is going to be everyone’s meal for that night. It is that tasty. However, you can skip a few ingredients if you want. For the recipe click here.
Crackers are super light for easy digestion while your child is suffering from stomach flu. They are light and you would know your child is getting better when he is able to digest them.
Once your child starts to digest things a little better do not start off with fried or acidic stuff, rather, start something light, like applesauce, bananas, rice, bread, noodle soup, etc.
You can also try this Guacamole and chips recipe, it is light and super yummy for kids.
Avoid dairy products
I know its hard for moms but you must avoid dairy products like whole milk, yogurt, shakes, etc. Dairy foods could worsen the situation if not avoided. You can resume feeding (whole milk or reduced-fat milk) to your kids once they start feeling better.
For breastfeeding and formula feeding moms, talk to your doctor about feeding your baby under 1 year of age.
If your child has a fever you can give Tylenol, ibuprofen to reduce fever.
Do not stress over your child vomiting or watery motions as that’s the only way his body is going to excrete out and get rid of those germs.
It will take a couple of days to get their appetite back and then they are going to eat just fine.
Do not give any over the counter medication for stomach infection. Vomiting and diarrhea are natural ways of body to fight infections by getting rid of them. Certainly, you do not want to stop that process. Although, this may take time to flush out all those toxins out of the body a few days and your child would be feeling better.
Stomach Pain or Abdominal pain
When kids complain about stomach pain or abdominal pain, it is probably a gas or bowel movement pain. As a mom, to the stomach pain, you may feel helpless as there is nothing you can do to relieve pain immediately.
My son complained about stomach pain a few days ago, for the very first time since he started talking, and he was crying with pain time and again. I could not figure out what was the reason and what is that pain.
I was worried and feeling helpless as I could not think of any medicine besides gas drops. I gave him Fennel seeds to chew as they are very helpful when you feel bloated. Also, I massaged his tummy with olive.
However, if you feel abdominal or stomach pain is not due to gas, it could be some serious issue if your child has vomiting or fever. Do seek medical advice.
How to handle the Post-vomit cleanup
For me, vomiting is more stressful than diarrhea. Somehow diarrhea is manageable if your toddler is still in diapers, whereas, the throw-ups could cost you your sanity.
Once you clean up and then again a throw up back and forth.
Vomiting at night is just like a nightmare for me.
For moms, having two or more kids who are sharing a room, can relate, when one of the kids wakes up due to a throw-up and crying her lungs out, automatically the one sleeping next to her wakes up too. Indeed it is hard to manage both kids in the middle of the night, especially when they are crying. Above all, you need an immediate clean up as it might be stinking really bad.
Things you need for vomit days
You definitely need a waterproof mattress pad for each bed if you are co-sleeping or even if your kids are sleeping in the crib or toddler bed.
For sick days have two or three crib sheets on your baby’s crib or bed. You can remove one or two in case your baby has messed up sheets, without interrupting other kids’ sleep. You don’t have to put sheets on in the middle of the night.
You can rinse everything right away to avoid any smelly atmosphere. However, you can still wash everything messy in the morning.
Do not turn on the lights, rather, it is a good idea to have a tiny night light in the room for sick days.
You need to keep lots of disinfecting wipes, paper towels, handy. A basket with a trash bag on in case you cannot run to the toilet.
Frequently change diapers as it could cause rashes. Check out this post on tried and tested ways to treat diaper rashes.
Kids may get sick and that is stressful for parents. However, it takes time for diarrhea and vomiting to go away.
Always call your doctor if you have any concerns or you notice these signs of extreme dehydration.
- Fever over 102 degrees
- Crying with no tears
- The mouth seems dry as in no saliva
- Not urinating
- Crankiness or noticeable lack of energy
- For small babies, the soft spot on the baby’s head seems sunken.
- Noticeable blood or pus in stool or vomit.
For safety precautions always encourage your kids to wash hands frequently. You should always wash your hands after every diaper change, bathroom use, or outside visits. Moreover, always wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them.