Stomach infection in infants and children
When your child has an intestinal infection, the most important goal is to replace lost fluids and salts. These suggestions may help:
- Help your child rehydrate. Give your child an oral rehydration solution, available at pharmacies without a prescription. Talk to your doctor if you have questions about how to use it. Don’t give your child plain water — in children with gastroenteritis, water isn’t absorbed well and won’t adequately replace lost electrolytes. Avoid giving your child apple juice for rehydration — it can make diarrhea worse.
- Get back to a normal diet slowly. Gradually introduce bland, easy-to-digest foods, such as toast, rice, bananas and potatoes.
- Avoid certain foods. Don’t give your child dairy products and sugary foods, such as ice cream, sodas and candy. These can make diarrhea worse.
- Make sure your child gets plenty of rest. The illness and dehydration may have made your child weak and tired.
- Avoid giving your child over-the-counter anti-diarrheal medications, unless advised by your doctor. They can make it harder for your child’s body to eliminate the virus.
If you have a sick infant, let your baby’s stomach rest for 15 to 20 minutes after vomiting or a bout of diarrhea, then offer small amounts of liquid. If you’re breast-feeding, let your baby nurse. If your baby is bottle-fed, offer a small amount of an oral rehydration solution or regular formula. Don’t dilute your baby’s already-prepared formula.