What is Stomach Flu?

The stomach flu actually refers to gastroenteritis or irritation and inflammation of the stomach and intestines (the gastrointestinal tract). This is different from influenza, a respiratory virus which is sometimes also called “the flu.” In children, the stomach flu/gastroenteritis is most often caused by a virus. Signs and symptoms of gastroenteritis include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, and abdominal pain.

It is important to watch for signs of dehydration if your child is experiencing these symptoms. Signs of dehydration include dry or sticky mouth, few or no tears when crying, sunken eyes, sunken soft spot in infants, decreased urination (longer than 6 hours between wet diapers or going longer than 8 hours without urinating in older kids), small amount of dark yellow urine, dry or cool skin, dizziness, and fatigue..

What You Can Do At Home

If you believe your child has the stomach flu, our office recommends offering small amounts of clear liquids frequently. Liquids with electrolytes like Pedialyte or sports drinks are best if your child is not able to eat. Give half an ounce at a time every 10-15 minutes and slowly increase if your child is keeping that down. If your child is keeping liquids down, you can offer bland foods like bananas, rice, applesauce, toast, crackers, and broth. You can gradually transition back to her normal diet as she feels better.

When To Call Your Pediatrician

If your child is having milder symptoms and you would like them seen, call our office for an appointment. If you are not sure if your child needs emergency care, call the office or the provider on call right away, and we can help you figure out the best place for your child to be seen.

When To Go To The Emergency Room

You should take your child to the emergency room if they experience severe abdominal pain, if they are unable to keep clear liquids down, or are showing signs of dehydration listed above.

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