Since the stomach bug hit our house a little while ago and everyone I know seems to have, or know someone with it, I figured it might be a good time to discuss what to do when you or your child is vomiting.
Kids don’t seem to understand why they are vomiting and it can crush a parent to see them so sick. It is very important to help keep them hydrated. When they have slowed down getting sick you can give 1 tablespoon of water or pedialyte. If this causes them to get sick again wait it out. Keep in mind it is very important not to give a baby under 1 yr old water unless directed by a doctor.
After 8 hours of no further vomiting you can give bland foods such as toast, rice, or applesauce. If these foods sit well then you can progress as the child tolerates.
To be honest, this last stomach illness that hit our house had the kids going between 6-8 hours with nothing to drink at all since they could not tolerate clear water. Squeaker was the one that wanted water all the time but I held out until she went a few hours without vomiting, and then used a medicine cup to give her a small amount.
Kids tend not to lose as many electrolytes with just vomiting but they can still deplete them. If they have vomiting and diarrhea, watch them close for signs of dehydration such as sunken eyes, inability to produce tears, no urination, dry mouth, and extreme fatigue.
Gastroenteritis (or stomach bug) is very contagious and it is important to make sure you are using good handwashing techniques. It is rarely harmful but very upsetting to both the child and the parent.
Diarrhea is another symptom to discuss. It is important not to give plain water to an infant as it does not have enough sodium to replace what they may be losing in their stool/poop.
Avoid high sugar drinks like apple juice or any juice type. Try to give a pedialyte or over the coutner oral rehydration drink. As long as they are not vomiting they can continue their usual diet.
The most common causes of diarrhea are contagious and come from either contaminated food or water, contact with dirty diapers or toilet or dirty hands. Hand washing is very important when handling food, that includes prepping and eating.
And finally, a word about the “stomach flu”. There is absolutely no relation whatsoever, nor does it even exist. The influenza virus is completely unrelated to the norovirus, rotavirus or other gastroenteritis such as campylobacter.