Pediatric Viral Gastroenteritis

What is pediatric viral gastroenteritis?

Pediatric viral gastroenteritis, often referred to as 'stomach flu' or 'stomach bug', is inflammation of the stomach and intestines due to a virus when it occurs in a child. It is usually spread through close contact with an infected person. The main symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea and belly discomfort or pain. Symptoms usually last only a few days at most. It is important that the sick person stays well hydrated while they are sick.

Risks

Children younger than the age of 10 are affected by this condition. Viral gastroenteritis is usually transferred from person to person with close contact, or touching shared objects and surfaces. Eating food prepared by someone with the virus who has unclean hands can be a source of infection.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, and belly discomfort or pain. Other signs of infection may include fever, chills, muscle aches, and rashes.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis is usually made based on the symptoms. Sometimes it is necessary to test the stool for the specific viral cause.

Treatment

Most cases of viral gastroenteritis will get better without specific treatment. Children with viral gastroenteritis should rest and take plenty of fluids. If a child is not able to drink, they may need admission to hospital to get fluid through a drip (intravenously).

Prevention

Maintaining good hygiene is important in preventing this condition. This is especially important when caring for people with viral gastroenteritis, to avoid spreading the virus further. There are vaccinations available against some viruses that can cause gastroenteritis, such as rotavirus.

Other Names for pediatric viral gastroenteritis

  • viral gastroenteritis in children