Gastroenteritis (also known as the stomach flu) is a very common medical problem among young children. It typically causes symptoms such as stomach cramps, vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea; in some cases, a fever may also develop.
The stomach flu is usually not a serious illness and may resolve within a few days with rest and drinking plenty of fluids. However, if your child becomes severely dehydrated due to this illness, they may require a visit to the emergency room.
Your child is most likely to come into contract with gastroenteritis at daycare or in school due to consistent exposure to a large number of other children who they may share snacks and other items with. To give them the best chance of avoiding this illness, you should teach them to:
Consistently wash their hands thoroughly: Your child should wash their hands with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds before eating any food or touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. Make sure they also have hand sanitizer available for when hand washing isn’t possible.
Avoid sharing snacks with other children: It may be difficult for your child to determine whether any other children around them are sick. Teach them to avoid taking snacks or utensils from other children as much as possible and give your child plenty of their own food to enjoy throughout the day.
Speak up if they feel sick: If your child is suffering from symptoms of the stomach flu, they should feel comfortable telling an adult and visiting an on-site medical professional (such as a school nurse) immediately. It is essential for them to rest and get the fluids they need to avoid severe symptoms and recover as quickly as possible.
If your child experiences serious stomach flu symptoms such as a fever, pain, or dehydration, schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Ambulatory Care Center as soon as possible by calling (718) 670-5486.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.