What is usually called stomach bug is actually gastroenteritis. When your toddler starts vomiting and stooling and you want to think of it as stomach flu, it is gastroenteritis.
What is Gastroenteritis?
Gastroenteritis is the inflammation of the guts or intestines caused by an infection mostly a virus (Rotavirus or Adenovirus) in children. Gastroenteritis can also be caused by bacteria, parasites, and toxins.
What are the Symptoms of toddler stomach bug?
- Symptoms are diarrhea (loose watery stool at least three times within twenty-four hours) which could be accompanied by vomiting. The stool may have blood and/or mucus.
- Abdominal pains especially with each passage of stool
- A headache can sometimes occur
- Dehydration usually as a result of fluid and electrolytes lost from the stooling and vomiting
In most cases, vomiting stops within three to five days while the stooling may continue for ten to fourteen days.
How to treat stomach bug:
- Take lots of fluid and oral rehydration solutions
Usually, in babies, no treatment is really required because of a child’s immune system able to fight and clear out the infection.
But in order to prevent dehydration which could pose the bigger challenge, give the child lots of fluids and rehydration solution to replace lost fluids and electrolyte.
The Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is available as powders or liquids in pharmacies. Give the solution to the child every ten to fifteen minutes or every time the child passes stool or vomits. Usually, plain water is not ideal for treating dehydration.
Anti-diarrhoea drugs are strongly recommended against in babies. Antibiotics are also rarely used in cases of gastroenteritis except where bacteria is suspected and implicated.
When a bloody and mucoid stool is observed, it could be bacteria or parasitic infection and antibiotics will be prescribed by the doctor.
Drugs like ondansetron are administered to stop the vomiting orally, intravenously or intramuscularly.
Organisms such as bacteria which have a natural habitat in the body and are useful in promoting the growth of good bacteria are known as probiotics.
If probiotics are taken at the onset of the illness, it can shorten the duration of the diarrhoea but it doesn’t replace the need for the fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Probiotics can be found in food and supplement.
How can stomach bug be prevented?
Two doses of rotavirus vaccines are given to babies at six weeks and ten weeks as part of the recommended vaccination schedule. This vaccine decreases rotavirus infections by sixty to ninety percent and when it occurs, it reduces the intensity of the infection.
Older children should be taught to form a habit of washing their hands especially after every toilet visit and to stay away from contaminated water and food.
Infants and toddlers cooked food or milk should not be giving to them if not consumed or stored properly after one hour
Breastfeeding your baby is one of the best ways to prevent gastroenteritis in children below six months of age. But in babies who are bottle fed, bottles should be handled with care, washed thorough and sterilized daily.
Parents and caregivers should make sure to wash and sanitize their hands after every diaper change.
In the case of toddlers with a weakened immune system, they should avoid reptiles, birds, and certain seafood.
Children’s food should be properly cooked and vegetables and fruits should be properly washed to prevent consumption of faecal contamination or Salmonella and Shigella from seafood
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