It’s 3:00 am and you are sound asleep, when all of a sudden you wake up and hear a small voice saying, “I threw up”. The rest of your night is a whirl of cleaning, sanitizing, and comforting.Gastroenteritis, also known as the “stomach flu” or “stomach bug” is a viral infection that causes your child’s intestines to become inflamed and/or infected. A common misconception is that the flu shot can help prevent the gastroenteritis. This is untrue, as gastroenteritis is a GI (stomach) illness and the flu shot only works for influenza, a respiratory illness.
While gastroenteritis mainly causes vomiting and diarrhea, it can also cause cramping, fever, nausea, and dehydration. Gastroenteritis does typically resolve on its own, but is also, unfortunately, contagious. There is usually no need for your child to see a doctor if they have gastroenteritis as symptoms will resolve within a few days.
The most important thing to look out for with this illness is dehydration. Keep your child hydrated with clear liquids such as water or Gatorade. I typically recommend yellow Gatorade, so if they happen to throw it up, it won’t stain. It also won’t look as scary as throwing up red Gatorade. It is important to avoid soda, milk, and juice when their stomach is this sensitive. If you do give your child Sprite or other clear sodas, be sure to alternate it with a glass of water. Signs of dehydration include infrequent urination, dry lips, and drowsiness.
Because a stomach bug is contagious, be sure to wash your hands frequently and to clean surfaces your child has been sick on. If your child’s symptoms persist and are not showing signs of improvement, take them to their primary care doctor.
Little Spurs Pediatric Urgent Care has 12 locations in Texas. We are open from 9am–9pm Mon.-Fri., 9am-6pm on Sat., and 10am-6pm on Sun. For more information, please call 210.543.7334. We welcome walk-ins, accept most insurance plans and are proud to be accredited by the Urgent Care Association!