What's Going Around: stomach bug - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

What's Going Around: stomach bug

Viral gastroenteritis is going around this week in Southwest, Louisiana, according to pediatrician Bruce Thompson at The Children's Clinic. (Source: CDC) Viral gastroenteritis is going around this week in Southwest, Louisiana, according to pediatrician Bruce Thompson at The Children's Clinic. (Source: CDC)

As the school year winds down, pediatricians are reminding parents to stay vigilant about hand-washing, as another wave of the stomach bug is making kids sick.

The stomach bug, or viral gastroenteritis, is a highly contagious viral infection of the stomach and intestines.  Pediatrician Bruce Thompson at The Children's Clinic in Lake Charles says he is seeing children present with the classic symptoms.

"Vomiting for most of them is a real prime symptom," said Dr. Thompson.  "Then others will just have cramping, a stomach ache, others will have diarrhea.  They don't generally have a lot of fever, but some certainly can have fever as well."

The biggest concern with children is vomiting and diarrhea, which can lead to dehydration.  Dr. Thompson says you need to carefully monitor the liquid and food intake while a child is sick.

"Go very slowly and they should just be clear liquids, things like Pedialyte or Gatorade, Powerade, Sprite or 7Up, anything of that nature," he said.  "Certainly no milk or dairy products because those types of things are harder to digest."

Even if you are worried about the child's stomach being empty, Dr. Thompson says the waiting game is important before reintroducing food.

"They really should be on just clear liquids until they haven't thrown up for four to five hours, then you can slowly advance their diets to something like crackers or toast or dried cereal," said Dr. Thompson.

As you are taking care of your sick kid, make sure you are washing your hands and sanitizing surfaces.  The germs that cause the stomach bug spread easily.

"With this age group, it is more from just close contact, more breathing, coughing on somebody, or hand-to-mouth," said Dr. Thompson.  "Good hand-washing is important, especially if you're going from one child to another."

Some stomach bugs last 24 hours, others can last a few days.  If the vomiting is persistent, you need to see a doctor to keep fluid intake in check and possibly get a medication that eases those symptoms.

Emetrol is an over-the-counter medication that helps relieve nausea and vomiting.

Dr. Thompson also says he is seeing an increase in the number of children being treated for bug bites, primarily mosquito bites.  He says children need to be properly protected from insects, as well as wearing a sunscreen with an SPF of 30+ when outside.

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