Skip to Content
Vaccines aren’t just for kids. Is your teen protected?

Gastroenteritis In Children, Ambulatory Care

Gastroenteritis

, or stomach flu, is an infection of the stomach and intestines. Gastroenteritis is caused by bacteria, parasites, or viruses. Rotavirus is the most common cause of gastroenteritis in children.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Diarrhea or gas
  • Nausea, vomiting, or poor appetite
  • Abdominal cramps, pain, or gurgling
  • Fever
  • Tiredness, weakness, or fussiness
  • Headaches or muscle aches with any of the above symptoms

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • Urinating less than usual or not at all
  • Blood in your child's diarrhea
  • Cold or blue legs or arms
  • Trouble breathing or a very fast pulse
  • A seizure
  • Increased sleepiness or inability to wake your child

Treatment for gastroenteritis

may include medicines to treat a bacterial infection.

Manage your child's symptoms:

  • Continue to feed your baby formula or breast milk. Be sure to refrigerate any breast milk or formula that you do not use right away. Formula or milk that is left at room temperature may make your child more sick.
  • Give your child liquids as directed. Ask how much liquid to give your child each day and which liquids are best for him. Your child may need to drink more liquids than usual to prevent dehydration. Have him suck on popsicles, ice, or take small sips of liquids often if he has trouble keeping liquids down. Your child may need an oral rehydration solution (ORS). An ORS contains water, salts, and sugar that are needed to replace lost body fluids. Ask what kind of ORS to use, how much to give your child, and where to get it.
  • Feed your child bland foods. Offer your child bland foods, such as bananas, apple sauce, soup, or potatoes. Do not give him dairy products or sugary drinks until he feels better.

Prevent the spread of germs:

  • Wash your and your child's hands often. Use soap and water. Remind your child to wash his hands after he uses the bathroom, sneezes, or eats.
    Handwashing
  • Clean surfaces and do laundry often. Wash your child's clothes and towels separately from the rest of the laundry. Clean surfaces in your home with antibacterial cleaner or bleach.
  • Clean food thoroughly and cook safely. Wash raw vegetables before you cook. Cook meat, fish, and eggs fully. Do not use the same dishes for raw meat as you do for other foods. Refrigerate any leftover food immediately.
  • Be aware when you camp or travel. Give your child only clean water. Do not let your child drink from rivers or lakes unless you purify or boil the water first. When you travel, give him bottled water and avoid ice. Do not let him eat fruit that has not been peeled. Avoid raw fish or meat that is not fully cooked.
  • Ask about immunizations. You can have your child immunized for rotavirus. This is a shot to protect him from the virus. Ask your healthcare provider for more information.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Hide