Stomach Infections


A stomach virus may present with nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.  It is possible to have a fever with a stomach virus, at least initially.  Stomach viruses can be easily spread to household members and those in close contact.  We do not usually give children any medication to treat a stomach virus.  Treatment is focused on keeping your child hydrated.

If your child has just vomited, wait 30 minutes before trying to give fluids.  Then give one small sip of a clear liquid such as Pedialyte, apple juice or white grape juice. Wait 3-5 minutes than given another sip.  Continue to offer slow small sips over the next hour.  If your child is not cooperating, try using a syringe and giving the fluids to them just like you would give medicine.  Once your child has held down the clear liquids for 12-24 hours you can begin to advance diet to soft foods.  Again, be sure to provide only small amounts at a time to be sure your child can tolerate it.  Usually kids do no feel like eating when they have a stomach virus, but if your child is hungry offer bland foods such as cereal, rice, applesauce, or crackers.

Sometimes, particularly after having prolonged diarrhea, it is difficult for the body to tolerate lactose. If you notice giving your child milk or milk products makes the diarrhea (or vomiting) worse, you may want to try a lactose free or soy formula milk.  Once your child has been symptom free for over 24 hours you may put them back onto regular milk products.

The most important complication of a stomach virus is dehydration.  Dehydration can be assessed by touching the inside of your child’s cheek.  If the cheek feels dry to touch, your child needs to be examined.  If the office is closed your child needs to be seen at an Urgent care facility or Emergency room.

When to come in:

  • If you are worried your child may be dehydrated
  • If your child  is unable to tolerate even small sips of water
  • If your child has diarrhea for more than 5 days