Like all loving mums, you probably ensure that your toddler eats healthily. However, what should you do when your kid complains of constant stomach pain?
Stomach flu in toddlers is more common than most people think. There can be various reasons for your toddler to contract stomach flu. Understanding the causes, symptoms and treatment options will help you soothe your toddler.
What Is Stomach Flu?
Stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, is an inflammation that usually occurs in the lining of the digestive tract. Stomach flu can be quite contagious, and is often confused with seemingly harmless stomach ache.
As incredible as it may sound, in most cases the infection will go away on its own in a few days. Taking extra precautions and maintaining some basic hygiene may help prevent the illness to a certain extent.
[ Read: Reflux In Toddlers ]
Common Causes Of Stomach Flu In Toddlers:
Stomach flu or viral gastroenteritis is one of the most common illnesses in toddlers. Studies have shown that most toddlers will contract this disease at least once before they turn three years old.
Here are some of the most common causes in which your toddler may have contracted the disease:
- Your toddler may have eaten food or drank water that was contaminated with the virus.
- Your toddler may have shared a utensil with someone who had the virus.
- Your toddler may have come in contact with infected fecal matter. Your toddler may have touched the same and put the hand in the mouth, thus leading to contamination.
- Your toddler may have contracted the illness through other serious bacterial infection like Salmonella, Shigella, Staphylococcus, Campylobacter or E.Coli.
- Your toddler may have contracted the illness through a parasite called giardia.
- Your toddler may have contracted the illness through viruses including rotavirus, adenovirus, calcivirus and astrovirus.
[ Read: Home Remedies For Cold In Toddlers ]
Common Symptoms Of Stomach Flu In Toddlers:
Depending on the severity, your toddler may show one or more of the following symptoms:
- Pain in the abdomen
- Aches and pain
- Sudden chills
These stomach flu symptoms in toddlers could be moderate or severe. They will usually last anywhere between a few hours to a few days or even a week or two, depending on the severity of the condition.
[ Read: Fever In Toddlers ]
When Should I Take My Toddler To The Doctor?
One of the biggest concerns when your toddler is affected by stomach flu is excessive vomiting and nausea. This can cause dehydration in your toddler which needs to be avoided at all costs. Even though it may not be too serious, here are a few instances when you should absolutely call your family paediatrician:
- If your toddler is a year old or younger and the symptoms persist for more than two days
- If your toddler is around two or three years of age and the symptoms persist for more than three days or so
- If your toddler is experiencing excessive nausea or vomiting, you should immediately call the doctor. In certain cases, dehydration may require hospitalization
- If your toddler is not drinking water or is not able to hold in water it may lead to dehydration as well
- In case you notice any blood in your toddler’s vomit or stool you should immediately call the doctor
- If your toddler continues to have a high fever that does not come down even after two days
- You should also call the doctor in case you notice any of the following: dry or chapped lips, less urination, excessive sleepiness or feeling of being drowsy, cranky, sunken eyes, discolored or cool hands and feet
[ Read: Stomach Pain In Toddlers ]
Home Tips To Soothe Your Toddler:
While it may get uncomfortable, here are a few things you can do for your toddler stomach flu:
- Try feeding your toddler liquids in small doses at regular intervals
- Avoid giving your toddler milk or milk based products
- Avoid giving him/her drinks that have a high acidic content
- Give him/her plain foods that won’t be heavy on the stomach and are easy to digest
- Do not give medicines immediately without your paedritician’s approval. Sometimes, giving it time to heal on its own is the best way to go about it
Stomach infections are a part of growing up years. Only when the symptoms persist for a long time should you check with your paediatrician. As a parent, you may be inclined to rush your kid immediately to the doctor. However, it’s best to wait for a day or two to see if the natural way of healing can work. In case of any of the urgent signs mentioned above, do rush your toddler to the doctor immediately.
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