Stomach flu (Gastroenteritis) in Children


This is an infection of your child's digestive system. It's not really a flu, but we call it that. It makes your child feel very sick. It can be dangerous for infants and for people who have a weak immune system.


What causes stomach flu? It can be caused by a virus, bacteria or parasite. Your child gets the infection by eating or drinking unclean food or water. Or, they can get it from being around another infected person.


What are the symptoms? Your child may have abdominal cramps and pain. They may have diarrhea and vomiting. They may have headache, muscle aches, fever and chills. And, they may become dehydrated. Watch for warning signs. Is their vomiting or diarrhea severe? Do you see blood in their vomit or poop? Do they have a swollen stomach? Do their eyes or skin look yellow? And do your instincts tell you something is wrong? Call your doctor.


Treatment options depend on what your child needs. Often, you can treat your child's stomach flu at home with rest and plenty of fluids. Offer them bland foods like crackers and toast. For severe stomach flu, your child may need hospital care. Your doctor will create a care plan that's right for you.