Monday, January 2, 2012

how to treat the stomach flu .. moms please read

Off to a not-so-great start to 2012 .... with the STOMACH FLU [dun dun dun].
This was seriously the scariest health-related incident in Honeybunny's life to date. It started @ 2am this morning. First he woke up crying with a little cough so I just changed his diaper, gave him some milk, & tucked him back into bed and figured nothing was wrong. Then no more than 10 seconds later I hear him violently throwing up all his milk. & this was juusst the small tip of the iceberg.
He was throwing up for the next 8 hours straight - He was soo thirsty & dehydrated and he couldn't hold down any fluids. By 10:30 in the morning he probably threw up around 15 times. He was dry heaving and crying, lethargic, limp, and totally inconsolable. I was a nervous wreck since it is a holiday and doctor's offices are closed and I was one more puke away from taking him to the ER. I reached out to my sister-in-law, who had to bring her twin girls to the ER recently because they got hit so bad with the stomach flu and needed to get re-hydrated with IVs, and she sent me this info from her pediatrician (pasted below). It was a LIFESAVER and I wish I had only read this before and had the Pedialyte stocked in my medicine cabinet instead of making Landon 10 times worse because I didn't know the right thing to do.
Finally, after 8 hours of this vicious, vicious cycle he closed his tired little eyelids and the little angel managed to sleep for about an hour....I still sat there staring @ him like a nervous wreck afraid he would throw up and choke on his own vomit. But one hour and 5 loads of laundry later he woke and we were finally on the upward path to recovery.
Why am I sharing all this with you?? No, I am not trying to make you lose your lunch too - I am posting this because I want to share the information I learned on how to deal with this with other moms of infants & toddlers with the stomach flu. Last week I asked his stupid new doctor why he was randomly throwing up and his response was a simple, "don't worry about it, he's healthy." After I still pressed my concerns with him he brushed me off and reiterated again not to worry at all about any throw up. No input, no comment, no advice on what to do if it ever got worse. (Now we are no longer patients @ that practice).
SO - I don't care if your child has never gotten sick - please read this guide below that every mom should read so they are prepared and armed with the knowledge that I wasn't of how to deal with this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad flu:

How can I prevent dehydration in my child with the "stomach flu"?
Vomiting and diarrhea are almost always the result of a viral infection. The most serious side effect from vomiting and diarrhea is dehydration because of the loss of fluid and salt from the gastrointestinal tract. Younger children tend to be less tolerant of this fluid loss and may become dehydrated sooner than older children. Dehydration can be avoided in many cases by following the treatment plan outlined below. This plan may seem labor-intensive. Intravenous fluids are rarely part of the treatment plan if your child is tolerating any fluid. This method of management is reserved only for the seriously ill child who cannot tolerate any fluid for an extended amount of time usually more then 6-8 hours.
Initially your child will start with repetitive vomiting for 3-6 hours then progress to diarrhea and intermittent vomiting.
This illness is almost always a virus which means there is NO TREATMENT but TIME, FLUIDS, and PATIENCE.    Do not panic!
Here is the plan for rehydration….

  1. Do not give any food or liquid for 1 hour after the last episode of vomiting
  2. Start with 1 tsp or 1/2 ounce of a clear liquid every 15 minutes
  3. Double the amount of clear liquid every hour for 2-3 hours
  4. After 3 hours without any vomiting, offer as much clear liquid as desired every 1-2 hours
  5. If vomiting occurs during this time period, restart at step 1
  6. After 6-8 hours and your child is improving, reintroduce their normal diet including milk.
Additional treatment and helpful hints:
  • Avoid giving water - it may worsen vomiting
  • You must get the clear liquids in - use a spoon, dropper, cup, bottle or play a game if needed
  • Your child will be thirsty and want to gulp - do not let him
  • You may give acetaminophen if your child has a fever
  • Do not give your child any Pepto Bismol, Imodium or other similar products for diarrhea
Clear Liquid Diet:
Best options (try these first):
  • Oral electrolyte solution - Pedialyte, Gerber Liquilytes, other oral rehydrating solution
  • Oral electrolyte popsicles - Pedialyte Popsicles
  • Breast milk is good for nursing babies
  • Make your own electrolyte solution…1/3 cup Sprite, 1/3 cup bottled (if traveling internationally) water, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp baking soda!

Other alternatives to oral electrolyte solutions:
  • Gatorade
  • Clear soup broth
  • Half strength Jello water (1 pkg/1 Qt water)
  • Seven-Up, Sprite or ginger ale with the bubbles stirred out
  • Half strength clear fruit juice
  • Popsicles
Good First Foods with Stomach Flu: (Always offer age appropriate foods)
  • Full strength baby formula
  • Strained bananas, applesauce
  • Rice, rice or barley cereal, oatmeal, Cheerios
  • Strained carrots, squash, potatoes
  • Bananas, applesauce, apples
  • Rice, potatoes, unsweetened cereal, crackers, pretzels, toast
  • Cooked lean meats
  • Reintroduce milk and dairy
Avoid giving….
  • Eggs, butter, bacon, pork
  • Peanut butter
  • Spicy or seasoned foods

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