Gastroenteritis (gastric flu) in children; Causes and treatment

What do you know about gastroenteritis in children? Do you know the symptoms of this disease? Robbie, an eight-year-old boy, complained of abdominal pain. He did not eat lunch at school and had a short dinner at night and had diarrhea the next day. His mother took him to the doctor, and the doctor diagnosed Robbie with a mild stomach flu or gastroenteritis. Gastroenteritis is not uncommon in children and can be treated at home in the early stages. In this article, we will talk about gastroenteritis (gastric flu) in children from Dr. Salam’s Diseases and Child Health section.

What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis, commonly known as gastric flu, is a gastrointestinal infection. The infection causes severe diarrhea and kills half a million children under the age of five worldwide. Infection causes inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, which also affects the small intestine and stomach. The infection can be viral, bacterial or parasitic, meaning it is contagious.

In most cases, home care with basic medications can be effective. But when the infection becomes severe, the child must be hospitalized. Gastroenteritis lasts from one to ten days.

You can get the flu more than once a season because different viruses or bacteria can cause the infection. Children are more likely to get viral gastroenteritis because they come in contact with infected people, objects and spaces.

Children living in developing countries or those who are malnourished are at higher risk for the infection.

Signs and symptoms of gastric flu in children

The most common symptom of gastroenteritis is diarrhea. Children with the flu can have some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Dilute and watery diarrhea
  • Vomit
  • nausea
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever

In some cases, the child may have headaches and muscle aches. These symptoms appear 12 to 48 hours after the child is infected with the virus. If your child is severely dehydrated, you should contact your doctor immediately, as dehydration can be compensated by injecting intravenous fluids.


Causes of gastroenteritis in children

Gastroenteritis is an infection caused by viruses, bacteria or parasites. These pathogens are transmitted from person to person through contact.

  • Viruses such as rotavirus, which are highly contagious, can be spread from children going to school or by touching objects that are infected with the virus.
  • E. coli, Salmonella and Campylobacter are a group of bacteria that can be transmitted to a child by eating contaminated food.
  • Bacteria transmitted from infected dogs and cats.
  • Bacteria that can be transmitted by eating contaminated food, drinking contaminated water and traveling to developing countries.
  • Parasitic infection caused by eating oysters
  • Sitting on the hands before eating or hand contact with the face or around the mouth is one of the most common causes of infection in children.

Diagnosis of gastroenteritis in children

Certain symptoms, such as watery diarrhea and vomiting that last for three days or more, are a clear sign of gastroenteritis. To be sure, however, your doctor may ask you a few questions about the food, living environment, and items your child has been in contact with. If necessary, your doctor may also suggest blood tests and stool samples.

Your doctor will also check your heart rate, temperature and abdominal tenderness.

Treatment of gastric flu in children

The most common and dangerous complication of gastroenteritis is dehydration. Primary treatment for gastric flu includes hydrating the baby and controlling the diet to prevent the growth of bacteria. Medication is not usually used to treat gastric flu in children under 12 years of age, but in some cases doctors may Prescribe paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce pain.

Your doctor may prescribe antidiarrheal drugs such as loperamide or rascadotrile, which cause stools to harden. In case of severe gastroenteritis, hospitalization may be necessary.


Home remedies for gastroenteritis

Home care is usually all you need to care for a child with gastroenteritis so that you can restore their health. Here are some home remedies for this condition:

Hydrate the baby

The biggest complication of gastroenteritis is dehydration. Due to frequent stools and vomiting, the child loses a lot of water. This dehydration causes weakness, fatigue and lethargy of the child. Therefore, increase fluid intake to prevent dehydration.

Make sure your child is consuming plenty of water, electrolyte water or glucose water as they are good substitutes for salt and minerals removed from the body and give him the energy he needs. Avoid giving fizzy drinks and sugary juices to your baby.


Stomach flu can make your baby tired. Loss of body fluids makes the child weak and tired, and even the slightest activity can be extremely painful. When a child has a stomach flu, do not send him or her to school or force him or her to play. Allow him to rest as much as possible and give him fluids.

Change your normal diet

For the first two to three days, give your baby plenty of fluids and some solid food. Once the vomiting and diarrhea are over, you can start a regular diet. Gastroenteritis destroys the baby’s appetite, so give him the food he likes. That means do not force him to eat.

Start a normal diet slowly and in small amounts and eventually increase it. The diet should include plenty of vegetables and fruits. Avoid high-fiber foods as they can cause bowel movements to loosen and worsen diarrhea. Also, avoid fatty foods that can have a negative effect.


What should a child with a stomach flu eat?

Ideally, children with gastric flu should use the BRAT diet. The BRAT diet consists of bananas, rice, apple sauce (raw apple puree) and toast, which are easy to digest. Make sure the rice and bread you choose are white flour, not wheat flour or brown flour, as they are high in fiber and should not be eaten when upset stomach. In addition to high-fiber foods, you should avoid dairy, spicy and fatty foods because they are difficult to digest.

Herbal remedies for gastroenteritis

In addition to rest and diet, give your child a combination of houseplants. Here are some tried and tested herbal recipes that can reduce the symptoms of gastroenteritis and minimize the possibility of side effects.


Basil’s anti-contraction properties prevent any stomach cramps and make the stomach stronger.

Give your child a mixture of basil and ginger extract two or three times a day to soothe abdominal pain. Mix equal amounts of ginger and basil extract and add a little honey to improve the taste.

Boil some basil leaves in water. Strain the water and add a little rock salt to it and give it to your child twice a day for a few days.

You can also use basil tea (green tea) and honey.


Apple vinegar

Another thing that can be used to treat stomach flu is apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar helps cleanse the stomach of harmful toxins and helps cure stomach disease quickly.

Half an hour before eating, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a cup of warm water and give it to the baby.

You can also add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of grape juice and give it to your child twice a day.

baking soda

Baking soda is a natural stomach acid that can be used to treat gastroenteritis in children and adults. Baking soda helps reduce vomiting and diarrhea.

Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with one liter of water, four tablespoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of water and give it to your child two or three times a day.


Salt contains sodium, which can quickly compensate for dehydration caused by diarrhea and vomiting. Salt also helps maintain the pH level of the gastrointestinal tract.

Add a teaspoon of salt and four teaspoons of sugar to a liter of water and mix well. This solution is similar to the electrolyte water you get from outside. Give this drink to the child at regular intervals to prevent dehydration.


Yogurt has good bacteria or probiotics that are good for the digestive system and yogurt can be used to reduce diarrhea. Children probably prefer this treatment option to many other treatments, because yogurt is tastier and tastes better.


Chamomile tea

Chamomile calms the nerves and also helps sleep. It also has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce diarrhea and vomiting. Give a cup of chamomile tea twice a day. You can add some honey to flavor chamomile tea. Be sure to use a decaffeinated green tea.


Another treatment for gastroenteritis that is suitable for all ages is a mixture of cinnamon and honey, but we must say that it has not been scientifically proven. However, the combination of honey and cinnamon can minimize the inflammation caused by gastroenteritis.

the banana

Bananas can reduce the pain of stomach flu. Bananas contain a starchy substance that helps reduce the symptoms of gastroenteritis and also provides the body with magnesium and potassium. Magnesium and potassium are two electrolytes that the body needs to prevent dehydration.

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Turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and contains bioflavonoids, minerals and vitamins. Turmeric is an excellent ingredient in treating stomach flu.

Add half a teaspoon of turmeric to a glass of water and give it to the baby. You can also add turmeric to the foods your baby eats.


Peppermint has anti-shrinkage properties and helps reduce gas, bloating and upset stomach. Here we tell you how to make mint tea for your baby.

Add a teaspoon of dried mint leaves to a cup of boiling water. Cover the cup and let it rest for a few minutes. Then smooth it out and give it to the baby.

Give this drink to the child for a few days and at least twice a day and before meals until the child feels better.

You can also try home remedies that contain ginger and ginger, but usually these home remedies are not given to children because of their high concentration. You can also add these ingredients to baby food to reduce the symptoms of the disease. Give.

Once your child has a stomach flu, you need to be careful not to have it again.


Prevention of gastroenteritis

The only way to prevent gastroenteritis is to avoid contact with bacteria. So to make sure our children do not get the infection, do the following:

  • Wash children’s hands thoroughly before or even after eating.
  • Wash children’s hands after playing outdoors.
  • Avoid eating street food or any other food that is at risk of contamination.
  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  • Do not mix cold foods with hot foods.
  • Do not give leftovers and stale food to children.
  • Do not use over-the-counter medications.
  • Do not give dairy to children as it will make diarrhea worse.

When it comes to treating gastroenteritis, the only possible option is prevention. Combining hygiene with healthy eating habits can help prevent stomach flu. You should also include foods in your baby’s diet that strengthen his or her immune system. A strong immune system can fight infections faster and minimize risks.

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