Stomach Bug 101

by |  October 5th, 2016

If you have a child under the age of five chances are you’ve gone through a few rounds of stomach bugs. After respiratory illness, the “stomach flu” is the second most common illness among kids.

These stomach illnesses are most often caused by a virus and have no relationship to flu (so a flu shot will not protect you). The most notorious stomach bug is Rotavirus although we also see Norovirus quite frequently.Child with stomach bug

The bad news is that these stomach bugs are super contagious, spread through contact with poop and saliva. Because little ones put everything in their month, they spread like wildfire in day cares and households.

The good news is that the symptoms are often not life threatening and will go away within a week. Here are some basic tips for surviving the stomach bug.

What to expect.

Symptoms often include fever, vomiting, stomachache and diarrhea. Usually, vomiting followed by loose and frequent stools is a sign of stomach virus. These types of sicknesses usually last five to seven days.

How to help your kiddo recover.

  • Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. You to need to push fluids because so much water is lost in diarrhea.
  • Normal diet. Our parents followed the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) but that is no longer the guidance. Let your child eat what he wants…within reason.
  • Try daily yogurt. It’s a source of good bacteria (lactobacillus) that can help the body digest food. Or, sprinkle probiotics on food.

When to return to school
Ideally, when his poop is solid again. Sometimes this can take a week.

When to call the doctor
If your child seems severely dehydrated, call our doctor right away. Your child may need to go to the hospital to get rehydrated through IV fluids.

How can you tell if she is dehydrated? Some signs include: Losing weight, pees fewer than three times in 24 hours and looks confused and/or is extremely tired. **Tip: For babies, put a tissue in the front part of the diaper to see if your baby has peed.

You should also call your doctor if your child has been vomiting for more than two days, has diarrhea for more than four days, or has blood in his stool (which can be a sign of a bacterial infection or other digestive problems).

|, , , 411 Pediatrics Medical Toddlers


Dr. Ari Brown is a pediatrician and a mom. Dr. Brown is Board Certified and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She has been in private practice for over 20 years. Her passion to advocate for children and educate families extends beyond the office setting. She is the co-author the bestselling "411" parenting book series including Expecting 411: Clear Answers and Smart Advice for your Pregnancy, Baby 411, and Toddler 411. Dr. Brown has received several professional awards including the Ralph Feigin, MD Award for Professional Excellence, the prestigious Profiles in Power Award by the Austin Business Journal for her service to the community, Austin's Favorite Pediatrician by Austin Family Magazine, and Texas Monthly Magazine's Super Doctor.

Comments are closed.