Surviving Stomach Viruses

Surviving Stomach Viruses

Surviving Stomach Viruses

by Dr. Rebecca Butler, Board Certified in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics

So the kids are finally out of your house and back in the schoolhouse sharing all of their germs and spreading around illnesses. Our office is recognizing a continuing theme of stomach complaints from the summertime activities as well as a shift to coughs, colds, congestion and runny noses. Gastrointestinal complaints have remained quite abundant with the start of the school year, so let us focus on these nauseating bugs.

By the time a stomach virus or other acute GI infection has manifested in one child, the most important focus is hydrating that child and protecting the other family members from contracting the illness.

Hand washing and keeping things clean are your best defenses from getting ill with a stomach bug. Not surprisingly, this is particularly true after touching or carrying your child and when preparing food and eating.

Many viruses will survive on surfaces for days, and some viruses (i.e Norovirus) can even survive hand sanitizers and wipes. So while carrying around those little magic bottles of germ killer can be better than nothing, always try to wash with soap and water. I know, easier said than done. So simply commit to do your best.

  • Change Sheets (use extra hot water and high heat in the dryer)
  • Clean up areas of vomit and diarrhea immediately
  • Wash yourself with soap and water.
  • Wash Surfaces in the household
  • Use diluted bleach solution to clean hard surfaces.

With a typical gastroenteritis, vomiting doesn’t usually exceed 24 hours. Vomiting is most often the first sign of a stomach bug in children, and children tend to vomit more often than adults. As the infection moves through the stomach and intestines, vomiting usually stops after about 24 hours. On occasion this phase may last longer.

Children rarely need medication when recovering from gastroenteritis. Talk with your child’s pediatrician if you feel your child is vomiting excessively, longer than 24 hours or he/she is becoming dehydrated. Remember that vomiting and diarrhea are a protection reaction of your child’s body to clear infection. Do not give anti-diarrheal agents/medications to children as it can prolong the illness and increase the severity of the infection.

Diarrhea usually follows the vomiting and can last several days. Even so, our children’s resilience will long astonish us. Protect their skin from rashes and sores, keep them hydrated, avoid sugary foods and beverages, and consider cutting out all dairy until all issues have resolved for at least 5-7 days. Re-introduce dairy very slowly and monitor symptoms.

If your child has severe stomach pains, high fever, or blood or mucus in their stool you should see your pediatrician immediately.

940.455.7200 | www.LantanaPediatrics.com | 74 McMakin Rd., Ste. 100 • Bartonville, TX 76226
Mon, Tues, Thurs: 7:30am-5pm | Wed: 7:30am – 12:30pm | Fri: 7:30am – 4pm • Sat: 9am – 12pm


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