Pediatrics - Stomach Flu
IntroductionThe stomach flu, also called viral gastroenteritis, is the leading cause of severe diarrhea. It can also cause vomiting and abdominal pain. The virus is found in contaminated food or drinking water. Symptoms of the stomach flu usually develop within 4 to 48 hours after exposure to the virus. The goal of treatment is to prevent dehydration while the virus runs its course.
The stomach produces acids to break down food for digestion. The stomach processes food into a liquid form. The processed liquid travels from the stomach to the small intestine. The liquid solidifies as it moves through the large intestine, forming a stool. The stool is eliminated from your child’s body when he or she has a bowel movement.
People with severe symptoms or dehydration may need to have fluids administered via an IV line.
Am I at Risk
Is My Child at Risk?
People with the highest risk for getting the stomach flu include infants, children, older adults, and people with weakened immune systems.
Call your doctor if your child’s stomach flu lasts longer than a few days. You should call your doctor if your child experiences symptoms including faintness, dizziness, dry mouth, and blood in the stool. Other symptoms of concern are producing small amounts of urine and having a sunken appearance of the eyes. An infant may present sunken fontanels, the “soft spots” on the head.
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