Gastroenteritis is an infection that causes vomiting and diarrhea. Many cases are caused by a virus, such as Norovirus.
Think of your child as a closed fluid container. What comes out must be gradually replaced or they will eventually become dry. Most of the vomiting illnesses cause intense vomiting in the beginning that gradually dissipates over the first twenty-four to forty-eight hours. If we can keep ahead of the fluid loss during that time, usually the vomiting will pass and the threat of dehydration passes with it. Diarrhea will often last 1-2 weeks, but is a small contributor to dehydration risk.
Do the following to prevent dehydration from excessive vomiting:
- After your child vomits, do not give fluids for 30 minutes.
- Use Pedialyte for infants (<1 year old) and Pedialyte or Gatorade for older children (>1 year old).
- Give 5 mL per sip every 5 minutes for 30 minutes (even if your child is crying for more fluids, you must pace them or they will throw-up).
- After 30 minutes of sipping every 5 minutes, wait 30 minutes without drinking fluids. If they do not vomit during this time, you can allow them to begin drinking Pedialyte/Gatorade freely.
- If at any time they vomit again, repeat the above cycle.
- Advance quantity slowly as your child demonstrates tolerance to fluids, then try other drinks.
- Dairy should be attempted only after tolerance of other fluids has been demonstrated.
- Once tolerating fluids (generally 12oz of fluids without vomiting), advance to breads, pastas, crackers, soups, and then other bland foods such as baked chicken or baked potatoes without much seasoning or fat. Use the chart on the back for further guidance.
Call the office if:
- Your child is dehydrated (look for the following signs):
- Urine output is less than every 6 hours in infants or 3 times per day in older children.
- Your child has decreased saliva, poor skin tone or inability to form tears.
- Your child just lies around, has difficulty giving responses, is not talking to you, and is unable to walk around.
- Your child has severe abdominal pain or pain localized to right lower quadrant.
- There is bright green, dark green, or bloody emesis.
- Your child begins sustained heavy breathing for greater than an hour.
- Your child has taken only Pedialyte for longer than twenty-four hours.
- There are other symptoms such as ear pain or burning with urination.
- Your child has had recent head trauma or has ingested something toxic.
- Always call if you are worried about the condition of your child and need more guidance.
For mild stomach pain you can use Liquid Antacid (Mylanta).
Children 1-2yrs: 2.5 mL, four times a day. Do not take more than 10 mL in a 24 hour period.
Children 2-6yrs: 5 mL, four times a day. Do not take more than 20 mL in a 24 hour period.
Children >6yrs: 10 mL, four times a day. Do not take more than 40 mL in a 24 hour period.
Adults: 10-20 mL, four times a day. Do not take more than 80 mL in a 24 hour period.
To prevent diaper rashes from forming, clean the bottom by gently washing under the sink, air drying frequently, and liberally applying a thick coating of barrier cream (such as Desitin or Vaseline).