Stomach virus treatment for children

Stomach virus is a viral attack that causes inflammation in the stomach and affects the small intestine. Stomach virus is more appropriately known as stomach flu, although it is not caused by Influenza virus. Stomach flu may result from food or metal poisoning or from toxins in certain food or seafood. It may also be caused from seasonal changes in diet and activities, and can also be caught from others who are suffering from stomach flu.

There are a number of viruses that can cause stomach flu. Four of the most common ones include rotavirus, adenovirus, calicivirus and astrovirus. Of these, rotavirus is the primary cause of stomach flu in children.

Stomach flu can affect infants who are three months old, to children under five. Stomach flu causes diarrhea and vomiting in children, and may also cause discomfort or pain in the stomach. The children may also feel weak, and not feel like eating anything. Stomach flu may last for 3 to 8 days, and can be accompanied with fever. Stomach flu is contagious, and can also infect the adults in contact with the sick children. However, stomach flu can disappear quickly if the proper steps are taken.

It is important to keep the children who are undergoing stomach flu hydrated. Oral rehydrating solutions (ORS) should be administered when vomiting or diarrhea begins. Oral rehydrating solutions are the best treatment for stomach flu, as it restores the body fluid the child loses. ORS can be bought from local drugstores and does not require a prescription. If the child is weak, consider feeding the child with spoon, rather than in a cup. Providing the child with spoonfuls of rehydrating solution will help to restore the water lost due to diarrhea and vomiting. Continue feeding in small quantities at frequent intervals. However, water or other drinks are not to be substituted for the rehydrating solution, as they may not have the proper quantities of salt and sugar. However, ice chips can be given to the child to suck on them in order to replenish lost water.

If the child is hungry, and is able to keep food in the stomach, is it advisable to give the child bland food, and avoid giving him/her spicy, fried and sugary food. Bland foods may include soups, potatoes, pasta, rice or oatmeal. If it is an infant and is breast-feeding, continue to give the infant breast milk if possible.

Allowing the child to get plenty of rest is helpful when dealing with stomach flu. It is alright if the child fells better and wants to continue simple activities, but it is wise to wait for a full day (24 hours), before allowing the child to resume normal activities.

It is important to keep a check on the child’s temperature. It is a good idea to check for temperatures every four hours or so, and be watchful in case there are signs of extreme exhaustion, flushed cheeks and warm forehead.

For most of the part, these precautions will allow the child to recover in a few days, or perhaps a week, without any long term effects. However, if the stomach flu persists along with the symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea for more than 24 hours, it is better to seek medical attention. Watch for blood appearance in stool or vomit. In case of persistent infection, the physician may prescribe antibiotics to ward off the virus. If the child has lost too much body fluid, it might be necessary to take the child to the emergency room in order to administer IV fluids to restore the lost fluid.

Last updated on Sep 4th, 2010 and filed under Digestive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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