Tummy bugs and runny tummies are no fun at all, especially for our little ones. Dr Kevanya Coopoo talks us through the signs of gastroenteritis and tummy flu and how to treat those nasty bugs.

Signs in little ones entail a lot of loose stools, like diarrhoea. It is frequently accompanied by vomiting. As a result, your child could become dehydrated, display signs of tiredness, have a “dry mouth”, or have a fever. Sometimes the poo does contain bloody mucous, which is also a symptom of gastro.

Treating gastro

While there isn’t a specific treatment for gastro, it’s more to treat the symptoms.

The most dangerous thing for little ones regarding gastro is dehydration. Parents must do all they can to prevent dehydration. Give them an electrolyte solution every time your baby has a loose stool. If they’re still breastfeeding, ensure you give them a feed after every loose stool. In other words, keep up with the losses.  

If you don’t have access to the oral electrolyte solution, make a 1:1 apple juice and water solution. This is excellent for dehydration. If they are feverish, give your child paracetamol. 

When to call the doctor

Parents can tell if this is a more serious situation that requires medical attention the moment their little one can’t keep anything down, including water. When they are not drinking or if they are becoming very lethargic. The bloody mucous in the stool is also a sign to take your little one to the doctor.

What is rotavirus?

Rotavirus is a common virus in toddlers and preschoolers. It’s a common cause of diarrhoea. It can lead to hospitalisation, but fortunately, this can be treated.

Prevention

The best thing is always good hygiene practice. Handwashing is critical. Hands must be washed after going to the bathroom or playing outside. Most of these viruses are transmitted via dirty hands. If someone is sick at home with a tummy bug, ensure all surfaces are disinfected with which they come into contact. Furthermore, all food must be cooked properly.