Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the inner lining of the intestines, also called Stomach flu. Gastroenteritis is often caused because of viral infection. In general, stomach flu is an infection of the stomach or intestines.
Stomach flu is very common in toddlers.
The symptoms of stomach flu in kids are diarrhea and vomiting, and your child may feel feverish at some point. One day you may notice vomiting, diarrhea, no signs of fever, and the other day fever at about 99 degrees or more.
Always call your doctor if your child starts vomiting all of a sudden, or having diarrhea and temperature over 100.4 degrees.
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How to treat stomach flu in toddlers
Several months ago, both of my kids were vomiting and having diarrhea. They both were feverish too. I immediately ran to my kids’ pediatrician, and this is what she had advised for stomach flu in toddlers.
Instead of running to a doctor, you can try these remedies at home first. Since there is no medication advised for stomach flu, you may find these tips helpful to get rid of stomach bugs fast.
Lots of fluids
Most likely, your child is losing lots of fluids due to vomiting and loose motions. Dehydration is the biggest concern for a stomach flu condition called gastroenteritis. Giving your child lots of fluid may help to keep her hydrated.
Sometimes kids do not feel like eating or drinking anything, especially at this point when they are feeling sick already. They are unable to stomach everything, and their appetite is not very active due to 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, minerals, sugar, and salts. 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, acidic or citric drinks, like orange juice, etc, as it may cause more discomfort.
Since kids love iced popsicles, Pedialyte popsicles are an excellent source of hydration for kids.
Read more: How to treat seasonal allergies in children.
Semi-solid or light food
If your child is able to take in liquids and not throw 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.
Try Chicken Corn soup for your kids, quite a chance it is going to be everyone’s meal for that night. It is delicious and healthy However, you can skip a few ingredients if you want.
Read more For the chicken corn soup recipe.
While your child is suffering from stomach flu, try feeding him crackers, as they are light and easy on digestion. Once your child starts getting better, he would be able to digest food.
Soon after your child starts to digest food a little better, do not resume feeding fried or acidic stuff. Instead of starting solid food right away, try 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
During stomach flu, you must avoid dairy products like whole milk, yogurt, shakes, etc. Dairy foods could worsen the condition if not avoided, or delay the recovery. You can resume feeding (whole milk or reduced-fat milk) to your kids once they start feeling better.
Breastfeeding and formula feeding moms are advised to talk to their doctor about feeding their baby under 1 year of age.
If your child has a fever, you can give Tylenol, ibuprofen as a fever reducer.
Do not stress over your child’s vomiting or watery motions, since that’s the only way his body is going to excrete out and get rid of the stomach bug.
It will take a couple of days to get your kids’ appetite back and then they are going to eat just fine.
Do not give any over-the-counter medication for stomach infections. Vomiting and diarrhea are natural ways for the 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.
How to ease Stomach Pain or Abdominal pain due to gas and diarrhea
When kids complain about stomach pain or abdominal pain, it is probably a gas or bowel movement pain. As a mom, you may feel helpless, if your child feels bloated or have gas issues.
Using fennel seeds is the only remedy that helps with gas issues super fast. It works for both kids and adults.
Whenever my kids complain about stomach pain or gas, I give them a teaspoon of Fennel seeds to chew. However, in the worst pain scenario, try an oil massage on your child’s tummy. This helps muscles relax and the pain will go away.
However, if you feel abdominal or stomach pain is not due to gas, or your child has vomiting or fever, you must seek medical advice.
Natural foods that help in relieving diarrhea symptoms
Boil some water with fennel seeds and cardamom pods and have your child have it for drinking throughout the day. Fennel water significantly improves symptoms of diarrhea or any type of stomach pain.
In addition to what you should be drinking, eat foods that are high in pectins, such as applesauce, bananas, and yogurt. Pectin is a water-soluble fiber that helps reduce diarrhea. Eat foods that are rich in potassium, such as natural fruit juices, potatoes without the skin, and bananas.
Eating bananas, applesauce is the best remedy for controlling diarrhea symptoms. Banana is known to have poop solidifying properties that may help relieve diarrhea and firm the stool.
Ideally, eat light food in the form of rice instead of eating hard-to-digest food when anyone in the family experiencing stomach issues. Try this chicken rice recipe – a healthy and light meal for everyone in the family.
Organic India Psyllium (Ispaghol) Herbal Powder is the best way to resolve any type of stomach issue. Although it’s not hard for adults to add in the husk in their everyday diet or when sick. But for toddlers, you can either mix in their meals, ice cream, yogurt, whatever your child likes more. This remedy works like a charm to control and relieve any diarrhea issues.
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, but, the throw-ups could cost you your sanity.
There you clean up, and your child throws up again.
Vomiting at night is just like a nightmare for me.
Managing sick kids, if your kids are sharing a room, is tough for moms. When one of the kids wakes up due to a throw-up or crying her lungs out, automatically the one sleeping next to her wakes up too. Indeed it is hard to manage both kids, especially, in the middle of the night.
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 messy sheets and clothes in the morning.
Do not turn on the lights, rather, have a tiny night light in the room for sick days.
You need to keep lots of disinfecting wipes, and paper towels handy and a basket with a trash bag in case you cannot run to the toilet.
Frequently change diapers, as it could cause rashes if your child suffers from diarrhea. 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.
Another tip: When small kids are sleep-trained and normally sleep in separate rooms, have them sleep on a separate mattress with you when they are sick. That way you can monitor them better. In case of accidents, you can help them without disturbing other kids.
How Imodium helps kids for diarrhea (stomach flu)?
Lately, my kids (now 5 plus and 4) got diarrhea, It was crazy accident type diarrhea like pooping pants, etc. It was a lot of work cleaning up and washing. In that case, Imodium for kids worked as it slowed down or paused the process of frequent pooping. Imodium is an anti-diarrheal oral liquid – usually comes in mint flavor.
Ideally, you should wait for diarrhea to stop on its own as the body naturally removes all the toxins or stomach bugs instead of using any harsh medication. But if the diarrhea is really bad and makes your child super dehydrated, or you are traveling with sick kids, Imodium may be helpful.
Based on the experience of using Imodium, it may slow down the process of diarrhea, but you should be vigilant for your child’s next bowel movement.
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 their 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.
Most of the time, diarrhea is caused due to viral infections, make sure you wash kids’ clothes and bedding to avoid future illnesses.