Ugh, a Stomach Bug! 6 Common Tummy Trouble Mistakes

You Forget to Be Vigilant About Sanitizing

Wrong Move You become lax about hand-washing and sanitizing once your child improves.

Better Bet Stay vigilant about good hygiene. The virus can remain in your child's intestine (and come out in his stool) for several weeks after his symptoms are gone. So have him sing "Happy Birthday to You" twice when he washes his hands to ensure he does a thorough job after every trip to the bathroom. If he's still in diapers, scrub your hands after each change. Don't share towels, drinks, or food with your child. And since germs can live on places like doorknobs and toys for several hours or even days, clean or disinfect them regularly.

6 Reasons to Call the Doctor

Your child's stomach will probably get better on its own, but speak to your pediatrician right away if you notice any of these symptoms:

  1. Your newborn is vomiting.
  2. Your child can't keep down even tiny amounts of liquid.
  3. He has signs of dehydration. He isn't peeing or his urine is very dark; his eyes seem sunken and his face is pale; he has dry lips or mouth; and he has no tears when he cries. The soft spot on the top of a baby's head (the fontanel) may also appear sunken.
  4. You see dark-brown particles in his vomit (which could be blood) or notice a reddish, jelly-like substance in his stool (which could be a sign of a serious intestinal blockage).
  5. Your child has diarrhea more than once every hour.
  6. Your newborn has a temperature of 100.4?F or above or your child (6 months or older) has a fever that exceeds 103?F.

Originally published in the December 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

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