The Stomach Flu: When Should You Go to the ER?


I’m Jamie Kondis and I’m going to talk
about when to go to the ER if your child has stomach flu. The technical term for
that is called viral gastroenteritis which is an illness that kids get which
usually consists of fever, vomiting and diarrhea. So when would you want to go to
the emergency room versus staying at home and just treating the symptoms
there? So the times we worry are if you see a very high fever. Generally if it’s
an infant, over 101.5, if it’s an older kid we start to get worried
when it’s like 103, 104 Another thing we worry about is if you
see any blood at all in the child’s vomit or in their diarrhea that is
definitely a time you would want to come in because that could indicate a more
serious bacterial illness. The third thing we really worry about is
dehydration and especially in really little kids they can get dehydrated
pretty quickly even if you’re pushing fluids at home sometimes that’s not
enough so things you want to look for in infants is if they’re having less than
two wet diapers per day. And an older kid we look for things like, are they not
making tears? or is their mouth really dry? and something else you can check is
called their capillary refill and this is when you press on their fingernail if
it doesn’t go back to looking like normal after two seconds that is another
sign of dehydration. That would be a time where you’d want to give your doctor
call or again if it’s the middle of night come to the ER and get evaluated
there Usually kids have a couple days of
vomiting followed by a couple days of diarrhea if it lasts more than a week we
start to get worried that it’s something more serious. The stomach flu or a viral
gastroenteritis can be very scary, it can be scary watching your child vomit and
have diarrhea so if you’re having any doubts at all definitely give your
doctor a call or just bring them into the ER it’s one of the most common
things we treat in the ER and we’re more than happy to evaluate your child
whether they’re a baby or an older child.

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