Stomach flu is a name commonly known for an intestinal infection that is scientifically called viral gastroenteritis. The common symptoms of stomach flu typically include;
- Stomach upset or cramps
- Chills and fever
- Vomiting and
- Watery diarrhea
Stomach flu is usually caused by various viruses while sometimes it can be caused by bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella or Staphylococcus. Your child can develop stomach flu after consuming contaminated water or food. He or she can also suffer from stomach flu after being in contact with an infected person.
Whereas the sickness can go away in around ten days without medication (depending on the culprit), the first few days can be terrible for a kid, and this is why you should take action to help your child overcome this nightmare. You can use the following ways to treat your child’s stomach flu;
Avoid over the counter meds
Time is the best medicine with the stomach flu. As much as you might be tempted to use over-the-counter drugs to cure your child’s misery, do not try. Most medications will not help. In fact, some may make matters worse. You can only use ibuprofen or acetaminophen only if your child has a fever.
Give lots of fluids
It is crucial for you to keep your child hydrated as the biggest danger from stomach flu is dehydration. The body of your child will lose more fluids than it takes in during the time they have the stomach flu. Keep in mind that not just any fluid will help. For instance, you should keep milk and drinks with caffeine or acids such as orange juice away from your child as it will worsen the stomach problem. Although water is advisable, it might not be enough because it won’t replace the vital electrolytes (minerals and salt) that the body of your child loses when dehydrated. Oral rehydration solutions or electrolyte solutions found in local drug stores can help replace the minerals and salts. Some sports drinks can also work well for teenagers and school children.
Try giving your child one teaspoon every five minutes as even the right type of liquid can worsen vomiting.
Introduce food gently
You can smoothly introduce food as soon as your child can drink liquid without a problem. You can try potatoes, rice, bread, bananas and plain yogurt at first. If they are going down okay, you can try cooked vegetables and lean meat. Avoid feeding your sick child with spicy, fried, acidic or fatty foods as these can make the situation worse.
Consult a physician
While most cases of stomach flu would disappear on their own, there are some that would require assistance from a doctor. These would include instances where diarrhea and vomiting persist for more than a few days. Be sure to also point out any of the following signs of dehydration to the doctor;
- Dry mouth
- Fever beyond 102F
- Pus or blood in stool
- Not urinating
- Lack of energy
- Crying without tears
There is also need for your child to be tested sooner for conditions like diabetes that increases their chances of fluid loss
Prevention is better than cure
To decrease your child’s risk to stomach flu, you can use the following steps;
- Ensure your children are vaccinated against rotavirus which is the leading cause of stomach flu
- Always wash all vegetables and fruits before your family eats them
- Thoroughly cook meat to prevent bacteria-caused gastroenteritis
- Often wash hands thoroughly with warm water and soap particularly after changing diapers, using the washroom or before handling food.