Pediatric Specialists of Plano

Learning about the germs we call stomach bugs

Viruses or bacteria can cause the stomach bugs our Plano pediatricians see in their work. Viruses called rotaviruses and noroviruses can cause viral gastroenteritis, which children can be exposed to through food, water or contaminated surfaces. Viral gastroenteritis causes nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. Bacterial stomach bugs like salmonella and E. coli can also cause similar symptoms.

Tips for treating stomach bugs

As parents, our Plano pediatricians know how miserable it is for everyone when children are hit by stomach bugs. Here are some tips for dealing with them.

  • Wait it out. There is often little medication can do to help your child overcome a stomach bug. Contact your doctor for specific guidance about your child’s needs.
  • Clean as you go. Even if your child doesn’t seem quite “empty” yet, it’s a good idea to keep washing clothes and sheets throughout the illness. This helps reduce the spread of germs throughout the family. Always wash your hands after touching your sick child to keep yourself from falling victim.
  • Start small and slow when reintroducing food. When your child seems to be feeling better, it’s tempting to start a regular diet again. But starting solid food too soon can cause a queasy stomach to start vomiting all over again. Try giving small sips of clear liquid and wait to see if your child tolerates it, before moving on to solids again.

Most children start feeling better after about 24 hours with a stomach bug. However, contact our office if your child has more intense vomiting after 24 hours, has a fever over 102.1℉, seems to be in significant pain, becomes dehydrated or has bloody stools.

Avoiding stomach bugs

Our Plano pediatricians know that Benjamin Franklin’s adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” is never truer than when applied to stomach bugs. Whether you are a caretaker, hoping fervently to avoid catching the stomach bug from your sick child, or preparing to send your healthy child off to school, where you know bugs are plentiful, here are some tips to help keep illness at bay.

  • Practice good handwashing. Always wash before preparing food, after handling raw meat, after going to the bathroom and after encountering people with stomach bugs.
  • Practice good food hygiene. Cook meat to recommended temperatures and don’t let foods with meat, mayonnaise or dairy in them sit out for more than 2 hours at 78℉.
  • Vaccination. Many tummy bugs are a result of rotaviruses. Vaccines against rotavirus are available as part of a standard childhood immunization plan.

If, despite your best efforts, tummy troubles catch up with you and your family, follow our treatment suggestions. If you have questions, or things get worse, contact our office.