Stomach Flu (Gastroenteritis)

This viral infection should not be confused with “bacterial” food poisoning caused by improper food.handling. “Stomach flu” is a viral illness so there are no antibiotic cures for the vomiting and diarrhea symptoms. Tylenol™ helps the pain from the cramping.

The important concepts to remember are concerning fluid replacement. Understanding which type of fluids and solids you can use will help in the treatment.

The goal of treatment is to avoid dehydration. Fortunately, few children have this complication. (See the section on Vomiting and Diarrhea...)

Start with small amounts of clear fluids. Avoid dairy products because they are not easily digested and can aggravate diarrhea. Even dilute fruit juices can stimulate the diarrhea and should be avoided. If clear fluids are tolerated in larger amounts over an 8 to 12 hour period, consider solid foods. The BRAT diet is an acronym for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast. These are easily digested and help thicken the stools. Continue this diet until the stools approach normal for a couple of days.