(Stomach Flu; Stomach Bug)
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- Age and location: children in child care centers and elderly people in nursing homes
- Group settings: cruise ships, college dormitories, campgrounds
- Watery diarrhea
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle aches
- Fluids—It is important to drink fluids to replace those you’ve lost when sick. Take small sips of water, suck on ice chips, or drink clear soda or noncaffeinated sports drinks. Give your child an oral rehydration solution (such as Pedialyte) instead of water.
- Diet—Gradually begin to eat bland foods, such as toast, crackers, bananas, rice, chicken, and potatoes. Avoid dairy products, caffeine, fatty foods, and spicy foods until you’re feeling better. If you’re breast-feeding an infant who is sick, continue to breast-feed. If your baby is bottle-fed, give him or her oral rehydration solution or formula.
- Rest—Make sure you get enough rest while you’re sick and when you’re recovering. If your child is sick, make sure he or she gets plenty of rest.
- Can’t keep fluids down for 24 hours
- Vomit blood
- Have bloody diarrhea
- Have a fever above 101 degrees Fahrenheit
- Vomit for more than two days
Have signs of dehydration:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Excessive thirst
- Dry mouth
- Dark urine
- Little or no urine
- Is under six months of age
- Has a fever of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
- Seems tired or irritable
- Has bloody diarrhea
- Has stomach pain
Has signs of dehydration:
- Unusual drowsiness
- Dry lips and mouth
- No tears when crying
- Dark urine
- Not urinating very much (for example, no wet diaper in three hours)
- Feeling thirsty but vomiting after drinking fluids
- If possible, avoid contact with people who have the condition.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly. Use warm water and soap, rub vigorously, and rinse well.
- Help your children wash their hands thoroughly.
- Use bleach to disinfect contaminated surfaces in your home (toilet, sink faucet in bathroom).
- Don’t share personal items (toothbrush, towels, drinking glasses).
- Take special care when traveling to countries that are more likely to have contaminated food and water. Only drink bottled water, avoid ice cubes, and don’t eat raw foods, including vegetables.
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.aafp.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov
Mayo Clinic http://www.MayoClinic.com
BC Health Guide, British Columbia Ministry of Health http://www.bchealthguide.org
The Office of the Provincial Health Officer, Alberta Government http://www.health.gov.ab.ca
Viral gastroenteritis. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/revb/gastro/faq.htm. Accessed August 21, 2005.
Viral gastroenteritis. Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/invoke.cfm?objectid=E31CB1FE-4C04-4B05-A67DF0EEF09823B7. Accessed August 21, 2005.
- Reviewer: Peter Lucas, MD
- Review Date: 12/2013 -
- Update Date: 01/13/2014 -