Stomach Flu: Symptoms, Treatment, And How To Avoid It
Last week, the stomach flu hit my family. It came with a vengeance, and all of the kids and I got sick within a couple of days of each other. Somehow, my husband escaped unscathed. After a major cleaning to help kill any of the bug that may still be lingering, I wondered what exactly is the stomach flu and how can we avoid “catching it” again?
What Is The Stomach Flu?
After a little research, I found that the stomach flu isn't a flu at all, it's a virus. It is either the rotavirus, which is common in the winter months, or the adenovirus and echovirus, both of which are more common in the spring and summer months.
What Are Stomach Flu Symptoms?
There isn’t a list of symptoms that needs to be checked off to confirm the stomach flu; your child may experience any or all of the following.
- Stomach pains (my kids were complaining that their tummies hurt)
- Decreased appetite
- A fever
While vomiting almost always comes with the stomach flu, it isn’t a guarantee that your child will continuously vomit. He may only vomit once and then experience ongoing nausea.
Your child may experience these symptoms for 24 hours or up to five days. And because the stomach flu is so contagious, chances are one or more additional family members may also get it.
Keeping Your Child Hydrated
The main concern with the stomach flu is that vomiting may lead to dehydration, especially in young children.
Make sure to keep your child eating ice chips or sipping on water, broth, watered down juice, or hydrating drinks full of electrolytes like Pedialyte.
You can read here about symptoms of dehydration to understand more about the symptoms and dangers of it.
Feeding Your Child
If your child is vomiting and in the middle of stomach flu torture¸ he won’t want to eat. But sooner or later, you’ll hear “I’m hungry.”
You will have to introduce easy-on-the-tummy foods. Try following the BRAT diet. The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Plain salted crackers are okay as well.
Give your child just a little bit of any these items and see how he responds. If it comes back up quickly, it’s probably too soon for food. Try some broth instead.
How To Avoid Getting or Spreading The Stomach Flu
Unfortunately, the stomach flu is super contagious and spreads easily…even up to 24 hours after the symptoms have disappeared.
Consistent hand washing is a must, especially after using the bathroom and vomiting. To prevent the stomach flu, hand washing is still important and should be implemented before and after bathroom breaks, playing with toys, eating, and after coming home from being in public.
After having the stomach flu visit your home, you should wash all toys, especially if your kids share them.
Use cleaning wipes (like Lysol) to wipe down door handles, TV remotes, and electronics, and anything else your children touch regularly to prevent the virus from spreading and to kill the already existing virus.
How do you keep your family healthy and stomach flu-free?
Image via article author Natalie Hoage