Surviving the Stomach Bug: Truths & Tips for Parents
October 1, 2019
Truths & Tips for Survival of Stomach Bugs When They Hit Your Home
- Hand washing and keeping things clean are your best defenses from getting ill with a stomach bug. Some viruses will survive on surfaces for days. And some viruses like Norovirus can even survive hand santizer. You have to use soap and water to kill it. Change the sheets and clean up areas of vomit immediately after supporting your child. Soapy warm water is your friend. Wash surfaces immediately, use hot water for the wash, and use high heat in the dryer.
- 24 hours (or so): In general, most pediatricians will tell you that vomiting doesn’t exceed 24 hours with typical gastroenteritis. If you advance liquids too quickly or children eat more solids than they are ready for, even after the first meal 1 to 2 days into eating again, they may have a vomit encore. If you have one of those, start back where you started (sips of clear liquids) and go very slow advancing their diet. If vomiting is accelerating at 24 hours, it is time to check in with your child’s doctor.
- Medication: Children rarely need medication when recovering from gastroenteritis. Although some antinausea drugs are available for use in some children, most children don’t need prescription medications. Antidiarrheal medications are not recommended for children as diarrhea is the body’s natural response to ridding itself of the virus. Talk with your child’s pediatrician if you feel you child is vomiting longer than 24 hours or becoming dehydrated. Remember that vomiting is a protection reaction of your child’s body to clear infection.
- Watch for dehydration: When there is continued vomiting, you need to make certain that dehydration doesn’t occur. To prevent dehydration from happening, make sure your child consumes enough extra fluids to restore what has been lost through throwing up. If he/she vomits these fluids, notify your pediatrician. Typically, we recommend that if your child has been more than 6-8 hours without urination-the child needs to be seen immediately.
- Modifying Diet: For the first twenty-four hours or so of any illness that causes vomiting, keep your child off solid foods, and encourage her to suck or drink small amounts of electrolyte solution, popsicles, gelatin water instead of eating. Liquids not only help to prevent dehydration, but also are less likely than solid foods to stimulate further vomiting. Once vomiting has subsided, a bland diet should be introduced for at least 24 hours. A bland diet avoids fried, fatty foods and includes things like toast, rice, bananas, apple sauce and crackers.
- Yummy, clingy love: There is an occasional perk to a terrible stomach bug. And we have to find one to maintain a sense of optimism. When our children are ill, they really turn over and show us they want us over anything else on earth.
- When to call the Pediatrician: If your child can’t retain any clear liquids or if the symptoms become more severe, notify your pediatrician. Occasionally hospital care may be necessary. Until your child feels better, remember to keep them hydrated, and call your pediatrician right away if he/she shows signs of dehydration or if symptoms are not improving within 24-48 hours.