Stomach bugs are nasty viruses that can easily make their way into your household, especially during the winter. With stomach bugs—viral infections of the intestine—unfortunately, comes diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and possible fevers. In case your kid comes down with one, here are 6 precautions, tips, and measures you can take to help them heal. Most importantly, vigilance is key.
1. How it Gets Around
The poetic name for how this virus gets around is feco-oral or oro-fecal transmission. That means your child probably picked it up in the bathroom at school.
2. Vomiting Is Going to Last at Least 24 hours
The vomiting spells that come with stomach bugs can be violent, food-heavy, or after a while, as is common, come out as bile. Be aware that vomiting will last at least 24 hours, and if the fits stay past a few days, call your pediatrician.
3. For Sick Infants Under 6 months
Stomach viruses are rare in infants, however if they suddenly vomit more than once, it is important to work hard on preventing dehydration. Be sure to continue feeding them breast milk or formula in really small amounts and call your pediatrician for more guidance.
4. Don’t be Too Quick to Reintroduce Normal Foods
A child’s stomach is still sensitive for a good length of time after healing from a stomach bug. Any foods that might challenge the stomach should be avoided for a bit.
5. Rehydration Doesn’t Only Mean Water
It’s good for your child to intake a lot of liquids while their body is going through a stomach bug. They’re losing a ton of minerals, salts, and sugars that need to be replaced, so consider that for their beverage options. You can give them any soft or sports drink (though better if diluted with water) at room temperature, and make sure they drink it slowly.
6. Diarrhea is Normal, Mostly
Diarrhea following a stomach virus is messy, takes a while to heal, and is normal, unless you’re seeing blood or mucus in the stool. In this case, you know what to do: call your pediatrician. Also, be cautious of a diaper rash, as it is a common side effect of diarrhea.