Stomach Flu: It’s Here

It's that time of the year...time for the stomach flu to start making its rounds. Here is information about symptoms, treatment, and how to avoid getting it.

On Friday, Lila stayed home from school because her belly hurt. I knew she wasn’t pretending because she missed the Easter Egg Hunt and a birthday party on Friday night. But other than complaining she didn’t feel good, she seemed to be fine. And she was fine all weekend. I prayed it wasn’t the stomach flu.

It's that time of the year...time for the stomach flu to start making its rounds. Here is information about symptoms, treatment, and how to avoid getting it.

Then last night around 8:30, Ethan uttered the dreaded words “My tummy hurts.” This after he ate half of a pizza, so I told him to try to go to the bathroom. Nope, that wasn’t it. So I told him to just lay down. I got the “puke bowl” out (does everybody have one of those?) and about 5 minutes later, he threw up. And from that point forward, it was about every half hour until 6 AM. I’m tired. He’s exhausted and afraid to eat anything.

It must be our annual visit from the stomach flu. Just in time for the week the kids are off for Spring Break.

A few years back, I wrote this post for another site, and thought it might be timely now to share it here.


What Is The Stomach Flu?

After a little research, I found that the stomach flu isn’t a flu at all, it’s a virus. It is either the rotavirus, which is common in the winter months, or the adenovirus and echovirus, both of which are more common in the spring and summer months.

What Are Stomach Flu Symptoms?

There isn’t a list of symptoms that needs to be checked off to confirm the stomach flu; your child may experience any or all of the following.

  • Stomach pains (now Lila’s complaining her tummy hurts again)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • A fever

While vomiting almost always comes with the stomach flu, it isn’t a guarantee that your child will continuously vomit. He may only vomit once and then experience ongoing nausea.

Your child may experience these symptoms for 24 hours or up to five days. And because the stomach flu is so contagious, chances are one or more additional family members may also get it.

Keeping Your Child Hydrated

The main concern with the stomach flu is that vomiting may lead to dehydration, especially in young children.

Make sure to keep your child eating ice chips or sipping on water, broth, watered down juice, or hydrating drinks full of electrolytes like Pedialyte.

You can read here about symptoms of dehydration to understand more about the symptoms and dangers of it.

Feeding Your Child

If your child is vomiting and in the middle of stomach flu torture¸ he won’t want to eat. But sooner or later, you’ll hear “I’m hungry.”

You will have to introduce easy-on-the-tummy foods. Try following the BRAT diet. The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Plain salted crackers are okay as well.

Give your child just a little bit of any these items and see how he responds. If it comes back up quickly, it’s probably too soon for food. Try some broth instead.

How To Avoid Getting or Spreading The Stomach Flu

Unfortunately, the stomach flu is super contagious and spreads easily…even up to 24 hours after the symptoms have disappeared.

Consistent hand washing is a must, especially after using the bathroom and vomiting. To prevent the stomach flu, hand washing is still important and should be implemented before and after bathroom breaks, playing with toys, eating, and after coming home from being in public.

After having the stomach flu visit your home, you should wash all toys, especially if your kids share them.

Use cleaning wipes (like Lysol) to wipe down door handles, TV remotes, and electronics, and anything else your children touch regularly to prevent the virus from spreading and to kill the already existing virus.

What tips can you share for keeping your family healthy and stomach flu free?