Home Medizin Magen-Darm-Grippe bei Kindern und Kleinkindern: Was Sie erwartet

Magen-Darm-Grippe bei Kindern und Kleinkindern: Was Sie erwartet

von NFI Redaktion

If your child suddenly begins to experience diarrhea, vomiting, and complains of stomach pains, you might be thinking of a „stomach flu.“ However, what is often referred to as „stomach flu“ is actually gastroenteritis, an infection of the stomach and intestines. The flu or influenza is different, causing sore throat, runny nose, and general aches, and rarely causing stomach issues.

Virus infections are the most common cause of gastroenteritis, while bacteria can sometimes lead to it. The illness usually resolves within around 10 days without medication, with the first few days typically being the most severe. However, there are measures you can take to help your child get through it.

Stay well-hydrated. The greatest risk of gastroenteritis is dehydration due to the body losing more fluid than it takes in from vomiting and diarrhea. So, the most important thing you can do is keep your child hydrated with fluids, says Dr. Andrew Nowalk, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Not just any fluid will suffice. Water is good, but in some cases, it may not be enough as it does not replace the essential electrolytes (salt, sugar, and minerals) the body loses when dehydrated.

Drinks that replace salt and minerals are called electrolyte solutions or oral rehydration solutions, available at your local pharmacy. You can even feed them to infants with a bottle.

Some sports drinks also promise electrolyte replacement. While they contain a lot of sugar, they are generally okay for most school-aged children and teens. However, they are not a good idea for very young children, says Dr. Peggy Pelish, PhD, Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Avoid acidic drinks (orange juice) or caffeine, as they can worsen stomach problems and discomfort. Giving too much of the right fluid too quickly can worsen vomiting, so go slow at first, giving a teaspoon every 4 to 5 minutes, says Nowalk.

Introduce food slowly. Once your child can drink and retain fluids, you can start introducing food, but keep it bland. Try bananas, bread, rice, applesauce, and toast first. Chicken noodle soup and crackers are also a good choice. Avoid giving your sick child fried, spicy, fatty, or acidic foods as they can exacerbate stomach problems.

Avoid over-the-counter medications. Time is truly the best medicine for gastroenteritis. While your child is sick, you may be tempted to give them over-the-counter medications, but most do not help and can even worsen the situation. Let your child focus on sufficient fluid intake.

Most cases of gastroenteritis resolve on their own. Seek medical attention if vomiting and diarrhea persist for more than a few days, or if signs of dehydration are noticed, such as not urinating, dry mouth, crying without tears, fever over 102 F, lack of energy, irritability, sunken soft spot on a baby’s head, or blood in stool or vomit.

Follow these simple steps:

  • Get your child vaccinated against the rotavirus, the most common cause of gastroenteritis.
  • Wash your hands frequently with warm soap and water, especially after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and before and after handling food. „Thorough handwashing with soap and water is likely our best protection,“ says Nowalk.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. Cook eggs, fish, and meat thoroughly to prevent bacteria-related gastroenteritis.

If diarrhea persists, contains blood, or if you and your child have recently traveled to certain parts of the world, your doctor may need to run some tests and possibly prescribe antibiotics.

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