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Also: Vomiting, Diarrhea, Dehydration
Waking up in the middle of the night to the sound of your child vomiting will strike fear in the heart of any parent! But don’t fret, most cases of stomach viruses can be handled at home with a little bit of loving care and patience. The following is a basic approach to stomach bugs, including when you need to have your child seen.
If your young infant is vomiting with every feed, having multiple episodes of diarrhea, or acting ill, you should make an appointment. Do not try to handle this at home. Young infants get dehydrated quickly and should be seen to rule out other causes of vomiting.
For older infants that are on solids, you might want to defer milk altogether for the first day, and just offer clear fluids and, once holding down clears, offer bland food like crackers, bananas, toast, etc. Gradually work your way back to a regular diet – sometimes this can take 24-48 hours.
Keep in mind: infants and toddlers can have mild gastroenteritis symptoms for several days, even with occasional episodes of vomiting off and on. As long as they aren’t having repeated vomiting, it’s okay to continue to progress their diet.
Your child needs an AVERAGE of an ounce of fluids per hour to stay hydrated. Your child should be having an AVERAGE of 3 wet diapers per day to ensure he/she is hydrated.
Follow the same strategy as above, but you can follow your child’s cues a little more at this age.
BRAT diet: Bananas, Rice, Apples, Toast (basically, a bland diet without fatty/spicy foods) Okay to progress to a normal diet once no longer vomiting for about 24 hours.
Children over 18 months can be offered anti-nausea medications – call the office and a prescription can be sent in if appropriate.
Children who are experiencing ONLY diarrhea can be given a normal diet as long as they feel up to it. However, copious watery diarrhea results in a loss of electrolytes and can result in dehydration, so it is recommended to offer electrolyte replacement.
Electrolyte Replacement = A mixture of 1/2 Pedialyte or Gatorade (any flavor) and 1/2 water. A good rule of thumb is: 2oz electrolyte replacement for every large watery stool.
If these are occurring – have your child seen!