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Surviving The Stomach Flu In Kids And Toddlers

Most young children don’t follow proper hygiene rules, it can be difficult as a parent to get them to wash their hands thoroughly. The end result is the common childhood disease, stomach flu. Stomach flu in kids is a nasty illness. Not only are our littles troubled with trying to keep any food inside, but that coupled with diarrhea leaves them exhausted and irritable.

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Viral gastroenteritis or stomach flu is an intestinal infection caused by viruses like rotavirus and norovirus.

Stomach flu is caused by coming into contact with an infected person or contaminated food or water. Raw or undercooked food can also make one sick.

The first step to prevention is to maintain hygienic environments when cooking and preparing foods and drinking boiled or properly filtered water. Be especially cautious about where you eat outside the home. Look for restaurants that maintain good hygiene standards on-premises and in the kitchen. And yes, do not risk offering street food to toddlers and young children.

stomach flu in kids-stomach flu remedies


The most common stomach flu symptoms include

  1. Watery stools or diarrhea
  2. Pain in the abdomen or cramps
  3. Vomiting
  4. Muscle aches and pain
  5. Low-grade Fever – monitor your child’s fever, if the fever exceeds 102 F (38.9 C) contact your doctor immediately.

Since most of these symptoms are similar to a bacterial infection caused by E.coli or Salmonella, it is important to monitor the child’s progress and stay vigilant about child’s energy levels.

A common concern with diarrhea is the onset of dehydration, and keeping your child hydrated becomes the first line of action.

If any of these symptoms worsen that is,

  1. fever above 102 F,
  2. blood in stools,
  3. the child is vomiting every hour,
  4. the child has loose watery diarrhea, one every hour
  5. No improvement in condition in 24 hours

it is best to contact your child’s doctor about the condition and set up an appointment on discussing signs and symptoms.


Stomach flu gets better on its own and there is no effective stomach flu treatment.  Even so, there are certain things you can do to help your child feel better during the illness like replacing lost fluids with electrolyte water. This prevents dehydration from setting in.

For more expert counsel and advice specific to your child’s case always call a doctor.

Contact your doctor to get the name of the pediatric electrolyte solution specific to your country and any other medicine to relieve some of the other persisting symptoms your child may be suffering.


The first question that comes up when you face the stomach flu is, what to feed a toddler with stomach flu?

In most cases, if the child is not throwing up and can keep food down you can continue with regular home cooked food.

Many children loose appetite which makes it a little more complicated to serve food that appeals to them during the illness.

Following a BRAT diet [diet comprising of bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast] helps to a large extent. These foods make the stools more firm.

The stomach flu diet includes:

  1. Bananas – potassium which helps replace this nutrient lost during vomiting and diarrhea.
  2. Plain white rice – easy to digest and provides the necessary energy in the form of simple carbs. Brown rice may be difficult to digest because of high fiber content and should be avoided.
  3. Applesauce – provides energy and easy to digest.
  4. Toast/White Bread – helps make stools firm and is easy on the stomach.
  5. Include foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, these can boost the good gut flora and help with reducing diarrhea.
  6. Starchy foods like potatoes also help fill the stomach and maintain energy levels.
  7. Oats- Make a simple porridge. It is easy to digest and not too irritating on the tummy.

Some of the preparations I use in our home is mashed potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes, soups like plain corn soup or tomato soup, plain toast, citrus fruits like oranges, sweet limes, and rice dish called Kongee.

Rice kongee- stomach flu diet

To make Rice Kongee slow cook rice in 6:1 water: rice proportion.

Slow cook until rice is done. I have added a picture for you to get an idea of the consistency.

In case you are wondering what are the foods to eat after a stomach bug, well, this depends on your child. Start by slow introduction of a regular diet, and depending on how well the child is keeping the food in you can increase intake back to old portion sizes and foods.


  1. You may want to avoid other dairy products like milk and cheese as these are harder to digest.
  2. Go easy on fruits and vegetables as they are high in fiber and can aggravate the problem.
  3. Avoid greasy foods like fried chips.
  4. Avoid processed meat and meat-based dishes.
  5. Avoid spicy foods.


If the child is throwing up, wait on solid foods for a bit.

Let him sip on some electrolyte solution or coconut water in order to rehydrate.

Also, continue breastfeeding to help the child get some nutrition.

Once his stomach settles, offer non-irritating bland foods like toast, crackers, potatoes or applesauce.

Continue on the BRAT diet until vomiting has subsided, do not force feed at such a time. Understand that low appetite is normal when feeling sick.

stomach bug in kids-sick child


Other than staying hydrated and eating a BRAT diet you can also try the following:

  1. Rice water left over from boiling brown rice can be given to kids to help ease diarrhea
  2. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties: Boil water with a stalk of ginger in it. Give this water to your toddler to sip on. Add a tiny bit of honey to sweeten this ginger water for your kids.
  3. Fennel seeds can be given to older toddlers to chew on. Fennel helps relieve gas and bloating. If the toddler cannot chew on fennel, you can steep some fennel seeds in hot water and strain out the seeds before giving your toddler this fennel tea as a drink to sip on.

Once again to summarize for you,

  1. Hydrate with fluids like water, coconut water, clear soups, and electrolyte solutions
  2. Eat a simple and easy to digest diet consisting of bananas, applesauce, white bread, crackers, rice, and potatoes.
  3. Eat probiotic-rich foods like yogurt.
  4. Rest and lots of cuddles.

I hope these tips help you out in the unfortunate event your child has the stomach flu.

Try not to stress too much, our kids pick up on our stress, which only makes them feel worse.

Stay vigilant, monitor the progress of the illness and most importantly provide your kids with more love and some encouraging words to help them stay positive through the illness.

Do you have some home remedies for stomach flu that worked for your kids? Let me know what worked for you, leave me a comment below. Share this post with other moms you know.

Until next time, Ciao!

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