Kids and the Stomach Bug

So… I kinda forgot about my mini series!  I was planning on offering holistic with some traditional medical advice for the common winter ailments of kids.  Especially as fall is now upon us, these topics could be especially useful in the months to come.  So… since I kinda went off topic for a few weeks, we will try and re-orient and get back on track!

Have any of your kids had the common stomach bug?  Nausea, Vomiting and maybe some diarrhea thrown in there as well? I feel like the question is going to be answered in about the same way as if I were to ask: “Has your child ever told you no?”

Well, let me tell you we have 4 year old, 2.5 year old and a 9 month old and we have NEVER had to deal with that in our house…  My kids have never said “no”, never had a runny nose, never, no never, even thought about running away when called, and have absolutely never stepped in a knee deep puddle after a good hard rain!  Yeah!  My kids are perfect!

So… after that string of lies is any one even contemplating continuing a post that would offer advice????  Hopefully so! 😉  If you have any faith left in me… read on!

Having sick kids is part of the not-so-fun times of being a parent. Certainly not fun to clean up, but even more sad is to see our kids uncomfortable, sick and fussy.  Especially the really little guys; they have no idea what is going on and they are so miserable.

Most of the time these illnesses are viral and there is no need to even contemplate antibiotics.  They usually run their course in a 24 to 48 hour window and are done and over with.  Unfortunately they are very contagious and it is a rarity that anyone in the household escapes coming down with the ‘ick’.  There isn’t really anything that can be done to cure illness.  The best treatment is to support the child and treat the symptoms.

Lets first talk about diarrhea… Mmmm  yummy!  I feel like poop is such a big part of conversation as moms (and dads too!).  I graduated with a nursing degree and walked right into lots of dealings with poop. Loose poop, hard poop, bloody poop, stinky poop, complaints about poop, no poop, wiping up poop, mopping poop off the floor, and I could go on all day!  I am oh-so-happy to not be working in the hospital anymore and to graduate yet again…. Graduate from dealing with poop on a daily basis!  But…  then I had kids!  And we are at it again! 😉

A bout of diarrhea can run for about a week without too much concern.  It usually takes a while to fully get things regulated and back to normal in that area of the world!  The most important thing to watch for is dehydration.  Below are signs and symptoms and how to avoid it.  Dangers to look for with diarrhea is anything looking like red jelly or blood or if there is so many episodes that it is impossible to keep up with the fluids.  Usually  with diarrhea kids still feel like eating and drinking which makes it a little easier to stay on top of it.

The BRAT diet is a good way to help firm up the stools.  Each letter stands for a different food:

B – Bananas
R – Rice
A – Applesauce
T – Toast – including all white simple starches

Another good food for diarrhea is yogurt.  I know usually it is advised to stay away from diary with any type of stomach upset, but yogurt (with live cultures) is different.  It has a lot of beneficial bacteria in it that helps to re-populate the intestines with the good bacteria that needs to be there and will help to get things back on a normal track.

And on to nausea and vomiting.  These usually pass in a shorter amount of time than the diarrhea.  Nausea may take a bit longer to resolve than the vomiting. Below will be listed a few ideas for natural remedies for helping with nausea.

Vomiting is messy and scary for kids.  It’s also scary for the mamas and papas.  We don’t like to see it or hear it and we are worried that it is an indication of something serious.  Again, the best way to treat to to watch for dehydration and try to keep as many fluids down as possible.  More serious symptoms to watch out for would include projectile vomiting, anything red (unless spaghetti or red jello was eaten for dinner) or that looks like coffee grounds, or vomiting more than once an hour.  Also, once they start to feel better continue to give fluid, but slowly introduce solids after 4-6 hours of no vomiting.  Start with simple carbohydrates, no meat, no sugar and no fried or spicy foods.

Signs of Dehydration:

  • Dry parched mouth and lips
  • Lethargy
  • No tears when crying
  • For infants and toddlers – less than three wet diapers in a 24 hour period
  • For older children and adults – urinating less than twice in a 24 hour period
  • Dizziness – worse upon standing
  • Extreme irritability or confusion in adults
  • Rapid heart rate and rapid breathing

How to avoid Dehydration:

  • Fluids: water, juice, Gatorade, Kombucha (contains a lot of electrolytes), ginger ale, ice pops, ice cream, jello, etc.
  • If vomiting: wait 15-20 minutes before giving anything to drink.  And then start with 1-2 oz every 10-15 minutes.  Small amounts is key.  If you give a larger amount, most likely it will come right back up.
  • Avoid a citrus juices
  • If diarrhea: Push fluids, but may eat food if desired.  Don’t recommend eating any spicy, fried foods, sugar or fruits (dried or fresh) that loosen stool (prunes, raisins, etc)

How to lessen symptoms of nausea:

  • GINGER!  Ginger tea, crystallized ginger, ginger pops( used for pregnancy nausea as well), dried ginger, ginger ale.  Also, some pharmacies carry ginger capsules as well (easy to make yourself).
  • I have a great recipe for ginger honey tea which is fantastic and my kids actually like it!
  • Sometimes peppermint helps.  Try it in tea form, or try sucking on peppermint candy or chewing peppermint gum
  • Bananas help sometimes
  • Rest!

Practical ideas for dealing with sick messes:

  • Shower curtain under sheets on the beds.  Help keep the yuck off of the mattress and helps keep middle of the night clean up to a minimum
  • Have a child 3 or older (they get the concept by that age) have a bucket near them at all times and tell them to use it if they start to feel sick.
  • Lots of hugs and kisses and cuddles!

When your kids don’t feel well, just spend time with them, comfort them and make sure they know you aren’t angry at them for vomiting all over your grandmother’s antique rug (do we even put these out with kids!!!).  Also, don’t plan on getting anything done all day long and order out for dinner!  Yes, we have those days too! Relax, take it easy, read books, watch a movie together and just spend a quiet day together.  Don’t you remember those days with your mama?

Medical Disclaimer: This information is meant to inform and not diagnose or treat illness or disease.  Before trying any of the ideas posted please research for yourself in order to make an educated decision.  Also, consult your doctor if tying to treat medical conditions.

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