The stomach bug hit our house pretty hardcore over Christmas. C was sick on Christmas day and only 2 days later A got it too.
As a pediatric nurse, we often triage phone calls. And the stomach virus is one of the calls we get most frequently. Like, several times a day. Parents ALWAYS ask if there is a ‘bug’ going around. My best answer to that question is that there is ALWAYS a bug going around. You have to keep in mind where your child has been, who they have been in contact with and what they have eaten recently. Food poisoning and the stomach virus are very similar and are treated a lot the same way.
When your kiddo starts with the vomiting and diarrhea (usually in the middle of the night in my experience), start Pedialyte right away. We recommend to give 1 teaspoon every 5 minutes for the first hour, 1 Tablespoon every 15 minutes the second hour and then sips after that for a few hours. If your kid is tolerating that pretty well, then you can advance their diet as tolerated. Meaning you can give them bland foods (cheerios, toast, crackers, etc) and/or follow the BRAT diet, which stands for Bananas, Rice, Apples (or Applesauce) and Toast. If at any point your kiddo starts to vomit again, it’s back to the teaspoons of Pedialyte every 5 minutes.
It normally takes 24-48 hours for the virus to get out of your system, and can take up to a week for your kid to be running around like normal. With that being said, if your kid has continued diarrhea, PLEASE call your doctor and get them seen. That could be an indication that there is something else going on. Even if they are acting fine, but have water-y poops, to the doctor’s office you go. They will likely ask you if you have been to a petting zoo recently, or have had any foreign travel recently. Be prepared with any information you can give to your doctor.
The importance of starting Pedialyte right away is something I cannot stress to you enough. Kids, especially babies and infants, can get dehydrated very quickly. Pedialyte has ‘electrolytes’ in it that helps to replenish the system. I almost always keep a pack of Pedialyte powder in my cabinet. It lasts a lot longer than the liquid kind, and it is super easy to make.
BUT, when both A and C were sick, we flew threw that box pretty quickly. Being my usual Pinterest-ing self, I looked up recipes for Pedialyte. This is what I came up with:
This website has a lot of different recipes for Pedialyte.
We tried the first one, with grape jello and it went over very well in our family.
With a finicky toddler, you can also freeze the Pedialyte to make pops for them to take. The best thing to do is put it in a ice cube tray and put a popsicle stick in it when you freeze it. They will think they are getting a ‘treat’ instead of ‘medicine’.
I also want to suggest to you to coat your kids (even older kids) bottoms in butt paste, diaper cream, whatever you have available. This is the most common complaint we have from parents of kids with the stomach bug. The stool is often very acidic and breaks down the skin on your kid’s butt very quickly, which will not only hurt their bottom, but if the skin breaks open, it is a HUGE risk for infection.
Another question we get asked a lot is how to stop the diarrhea. YOU DON’T WANT TO STOP IT! I repeat, do NOT try to stop it. The body is trying to get rid of something and if you try to stop the diarrhea it will only be temporary, and will further prolong the illness. It’s best to let it run it’s course, I promise it will be over before you know it!
As always, please use your mommy (or daddy) instinct and if you think your kid really needs to be seen, either by a doctor or in the Emergency Room, please do so! There are times that as parents, we just KNOW there is something more going on with our kid.
Hope this helped out at least a LITTLE bit!