(Written by Elle Yi) A stomach virus generally known as stomach flu involves inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract of the intestines and stomach, called gastroenteritis. A stomach virus is often transmitted quickly.
Barbara Frankowski, MD, professor of pediatrics at Vermont Children’s Hospital in Burlington likes to use the term stomach bug to describe a group of viruses that can upset stomach. The two main culprits are the rotavirus, which is more usual during the cold months, and the adenovirus and echovirus that prefer the summer and spring seasons.
Infants and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to the stomach virus with increased potential for much more serious symptoms. The virus enters the stomach and results in nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps and appetite loss. It usually lasts 24 to 72 hours.
Specifically, Early stomach Virus symptoms involve stomach pain, cramps, nausea, headaches and quite often a fever. Diarrhea and vomiting can also be experienced once the virus goes into full force. While kids suffer from a stomach virus, they can pass it on to others. In accordance with the University of Michigan Health System, the best way to prevent the spread of stomach flu is through frequent hand washing.
Kids with the stomach virus need to keep away from foods and drinks with plenty of acid like apple juice or orange juice. Dairy foods are also something to stay away from. Deep-fried snacks and anything with caffeine in it should be an evident thing to avoid with the stomach virus. Mild foods like soups or chicken broth are easy on the stomach, easy to eat and strongly recommended.
When kids have the stomach virus their body will be dehydrated and be lacking required vitamins and minerals because youngsters have more coming out than going in. They will need to drink lots of vitamin and mineral rich liquids like vitamin water and sports drinks like Gatorade or Powerade for the electrolytes. Parents can encourage to drink as much as possible because this will simply help them recover faster and feel better through the whole process.
Signs and symptoms of stomach virus usually last five to seven days in kids, and one to two days in grown-ups. For children under a year, a medical expert will most likely recommend having an oral rehydration solution including Pedialyte or Ricelyte, which come in various tastes and even in popsicle form.
To support kids keep liquids down, small, frequent amounts are better than drinking a full glass. Dr. Frankowski advises her patients to try a half-ounce to an ounce every 20 or 30 minutes for children under two, and the same amount but every 15 to 20 minutes for the kids older than that.
The great news is that the stomach virus is not a severe illness and will handle on its own after a few days of TLC. Children most frequently get infected in school and playgrounds. Adults are generally infected at work, on public transportation or high traffic areas like malls, concerts, clubs or bars. Human bodily fluid can be transferred extremely easily.
Therefore, it is very important keep a clean surrounding when dealing with food or shaking hands with people and make sure to completely clean your hands during the stomach virus season between October and February more than usual. Having contaminated food or hands is one of the most typical ways the virus is transmitted from person to person. Good hygiene is the best defense as below.
1. Washing Hands Frequently
It is better to use a disposable paper towel than a fabric towel that can harbor germs. Gastroenteritis results in many trips to the bathroom and parents should be particularly certain to wash kids hands after each trip.
2. Using Hand Sanitizer When Soap and Water are Not Available
Parents can use a hand sanitizer made with at least 60 percent alcohol. This ensures that it can eliminate the viruses that can cause gastroenteritis. Moreover, Children have to clean their hands before touching “community” objects such as telephones, computer keyboards and doorknobs.
3. Disinfecting Surfaces
It is important to clean surfaces utilizing disposable rags or paper towels and disinfect toilets, flush handle, sink faucet and the light switch with special attention by using a chlorine bleach-based household cleaner.
Stomach viruses can be extremely contagious and they can be spread rapidly when children are having diarrhea or vomiting. Regular and vigorous hand washing is crucial, especially after diaper changes and potty trips. Parents should also wash toys as often as they can since kids are sharing them.
Finally, maintaining a clean surrounding with good hygiene is another great way of avoiding the potential risk of having the stomach virus.