KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — When children begin complaining of an upset and bubbling stomach, it often signals the dreaded stomach bug.

As parents and guardians, it can be tough to know the best way to treat children when the stomach bug hits.

Dr. Kristin Farr with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital stopped by the WATE 6 On Your Side studios to share some tips.

Many people call it the stomach flu, but what is it actually?

Viral gastroenteritis is an infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines, caused by a virus.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Dehydration

How does it spread so quickly?

It can spread by sharing food, water and utensils. Kids get it more often because they are not as good at thorough and regular handwashing.

Soap, water and diluted bleach solutions are the best disinfectants for schools and homes where kids have had the stomach bug.

What can we do at home to make them feel better?

If kids feel like eating, let them. In most cases, they won’t, and the key is clear liquids to prevent dehydration.

Young children are especially susceptible to dehydration because they are less efficient at conserving water than older children and adults.

Water is always good and should be given in small frequent amounts. You can also use a commercial rehydration solution like Pedialyte, which also comes in popsicle form. Sports drinks should be avoided because they often contain a lot of sugar which can make diarrhea worse.

When should we seek medical attention?

  • If the child is vomiting for more than 24 hours.

Your pediatrician can give medicine to lessen vomiting.If the child is not able to keep down even the smallest amounts of liquid, IV liquids may be necessary.

Signs of dehydration
Parched, dry mouth, sunken eyes, fewer tears when crying, less than two wet diapers a day or an older child who is not urinating.

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