Viral gastroenteritis, or stomach flu, is highly contagious and can leave children feeling miserable. It can be caused by several types of viruses, and it is usually transmitted by consuming contaminated food or drink or by coming in contact with infected fecal matter. The symptoms of stomach flu include vomiting, nausea, fever, diarrhea and abdominal cramping and they can last for a few hours or for several days.
Common Causes of Pediatric Stomach Virus:
- Rotavirus – Rotavirus is often the cause of stomach flu in young children because they frequently put their hands in their mouths. Rotavirus can be passed on through food if it has been handled by someone who has the virus, and it can be present in undercooked shellfish. Rotavirus is especially dangerous in young infants, but there is a vaccination to protect them from getting the viral infection.
- Noroviruses – There are several types of noroviruses, and they are often transmitted through food. Norovirus infections spread quickly through communities and families because the viruses can be transmitted through person-to-person contact.
When to Call a Doctor
If your child has a stomach virus, then you should keep him as comfortable as possible until his symptoms are gone. There is no treatment for stomach flu, but you can help you child feel better by allowing him to rest and recover at home. If his illness is minor, then he can continue to eat a regular diet until he has recovered. If he has serious symptoms, you may need to see a medical professional to ensure that he is getting the nutrients he needs in order to feel better quickly.
If your child has been sick for several days or is becoming dehydrated due to vomiting, diarrhea or fever, you should make an appointment with his doctor. You may also want to call a doctor if your child is listless, is extremely fussy, has been vomiting for more than two days or has a fever over 103 degrees. The doctor may examine your child to determine the severity of the illness, and he may run tests to confirm that your little one has a stomach virus rather than a bacterial infection. The doctor may also be able to offer advice about how to keep your child hydrated while he is ill. If your child is severely dehydrated, he may admit your little one to the hospital so that his fluids can be quickly replenished.
Call 911 Immediately When:
- Your child cries without tears
- Your child has sunken eyes or wrinkled skin
- Your child’s hands and feet are cool and discolored
Pediatric stomach viruses are a normal part of childhood, but they can be very difficult for children and their parents.
If your child exhibits signs of stomach flu, visit one of our locations. Our doors are open 24/7 to diagnose pediatric stomach viruses, and we can make sure that your little one stays hydrated and comfortable. Our board-certified physicians will get you taken care of, within the comforts of our fully-stocked facility. Schedule an emergency room appointment with us.
Review: “They took my sick child in right away and tended to him in a very quick, friendly, professional way. Would recommend this place over any ER!” – Zee from Sugar Land, TX via Yelp.com