Food Recommendations for Children With a Stomach Virus
One of the most common childhood illnesses is the stomach virus. Stomach viruses are most often caused by influenza, astrovirus, calicivirus, adenovirus or the rotavirus. These viruses cause the digestive tract’s lining to become inflamed, resulting in fever, nausea, stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhea. Stomach viruses may last only a few hours, or they may last several days. Children with stomach viruses should continue to consume plenty of liquids and eat solid foods if they have an appetite.
Give the child plenty of fluids. One of the most serious complications of a stomach virus is dehydration. Severe dehydration can require a hospital stay and the administering of IV fluids. Children should be given some type of pediatric electrolyte drink, such as pedialyte. Electrolyte drinks help maintain the proper fluid, mineral and sodium balance in the body. These drinks can be found near the baby formula in a supermarket or with the baby items at a pharmacy. Make sure the child has easy access to fluids at all times, and allow her to drink as much as she wants. Do not give the child soda, fruit juice or Jell-o, as these items all contain sugar, which can make diarrhea worse.
Feed the child solid foods when he wants to eat. Many doctors recommend the BRAT-Y diet, which contains bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and yogurt. However, a normal diet is also appropriate if fatty foods are avoided. Some children with a stomach virus may refuse to eat for a day or two. This is to be expected, and is all right as long as the child is getting plenty of fluids. The child’s appetite should gradually return to normal within a few days.
A child should never be given any over-the-counter medicines for stomach-virus symptoms, because many can be harmful to them and may actually make the symptoms worse. However, medications like Tylenol and Motrin can be given to treat fever. Consult a doctor if vomiting continues for more than two days. Also, see the doctor if the child shows signs of dehydration. Signs of dehydration may include dry lips, infrequent urination, excessive sleepiness and extreme thirstiness. Luckily, a vaccine is available for one of the most severe types of stomach viruses caused by rotavirus. If your child has not received this vaccination, consult at pediatrician to determine if your child is eligible.