These are the best options when nothing else will stay down.
The vomiting and diarrhea that come with stomach virus symptoms can turn everyday routines like eating and drinking into a battle. It might be scary to see your kid go hours and hours without keeping down a single bite of nourishment, but rest assured: This is normal.
“When a child has a stomach virus, it’s really hard to eat. You don’t have much of an appetite,” says Preeti Parikh, MD, a pediatrician at The Mount Sinai Hospital and chief medical editor at HealthiNation. “Don’t worry about the food. Focus on the drinking and making sure they stay hydrated.”
Water is an obvious choice, of course, but Dr. Parikh also recommends electrolyte-packed drinks like Pedialyte, which may help replenish the electrolytes your sick one has lost while sick. Skip high-sugar options like juices, ginger ale, or soda, which can make diarrhea worse. (Here’s a nutritionist’s take on drinking ginger ale for nausea.)
Another pediatrician’s trick? “I always tell my patients to make [electrolyte drinks] into ice pops,” says Dr. Parikh. “When they’re ice pops, they’re a little bit more flavorful and they’re a little bit more tolerable to take.” If you don’t have popsicle molds, you can hack it by freezing them in paper cups or muffin tins. You can also buy Pedialyte Freezer Pops from some drug stores.
“Just make sure that they’re taking small amounts,” says Dr. Parikh. “Do a couple sips, and if they tolerate it, then you can increase the amount.” Too much food or fluid too fast can trigger vomiting, and you want to help them keep the fluid in their body if possible. Learn more tips for preventing dehydration with the stomach virus and symptoms of dehydration to look for.
When it comes to food, don’t rush it. “It can take up to a week before they really feel back to themselves,” says Dr. Parikh. “Take the eating slowly, and give them small amounts.”
Some people use the BRAT method when feeding a child with the stomach flu: bananas, rice, applesauce, and tea/toast. These are probably more tolerable than other more savory foods for a kid with a stomach bug, so they’re a good place to start, but they won’t provide all the important nutrients your kid needs. In general, encourage fruits and vegetables, supplement with lean proteins like lentils, and limit fatty, sugary, or greasy foods (which may make nausea or diarrhea worse).
You can also use probiotic supplements for your kiddo, but steer clear of antidiarrheal meds. “Probiotics help replenish the gut with the bacteria that it’s losing in the diarrhea,” says Dr. Parikh. Find more information here about how probiotics can promote gut health.
Taking care of a sick kid at home? Here’s how to prevent the stomach virus from spreading.
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When a child has a stomach virus,
it's really hard to eat,
00:00:05,715 --> 00:00:09,384
you don't have much of an appetite so
don't worry about the food,
00:00:09,384 --> 00:00:12,612
focus on the drinking and
making sure they stay hydrated.
00:00:12,612 --> 00:00:17,270
00:00:17,270 --> 00:00:22,132
You really need to make sure at least that
they're drinking if they don't want to eat
00:00:22,132 --> 00:00:26,240
so ways to help them drink is anything
cool is great I would stay away from
00:00:26,240 --> 00:00:29,120
juices because the sugar
can make it worse.
00:00:29,120 --> 00:00:33,920
But you can get something called Pedialyte
which are electrolyte drinks and I always
00:00:33,920 --> 00:00:37,780
tell my patients to make them into ice
pops cuz when they're ice pops they're
00:00:37,780 --> 00:00:42,050
a little bit more flavorful and they're
a little bit more tolerable to take.
00:00:42,050 --> 00:00:45,854
And just make sure though that they're
taking small amounts you do a couple sips
00:00:45,854 --> 00:00:48,786
and if they tolerate it then
you can increase the amount, so
00:00:48,786 --> 00:00:52,430
every couple of minutes you slowly
increase the amount that they take and
00:00:52,430 --> 00:00:56,040
that's really important because if
you give too much fluid too quickly
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it can cause them to throw up and
also make their diarrhea again worse.
00:01:00,460 --> 00:01:04,178
When your child has a stomach virus, a lot
of parents are really concerned about
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the eating part and
how to get them to eat again and
00:01:07,090 --> 00:01:10,680
I tell them to take it slowly because
it does take a while it could
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take up to a week before they
really feel that to themselves.
00:01:13,970 --> 00:01:19,040
Take the eating slowly and give them
small amounts focus on the drinking but
00:01:19,040 --> 00:01:21,530
when they are ready to eat
give them what they like, but
00:01:21,530 --> 00:01:26,030
I would stay away from sugary foods,
fatty foods, anything greasy, and
00:01:26,030 --> 00:01:30,080
focus more on healthy fruits, vegetables.
00:01:30,080 --> 00:01:33,988
So, a lot of parents ask me about
the bananas, rice, apple, tea toast,
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known as the BRAT diet to help their
children cope with the stomach bug and
00:01:37,833 --> 00:01:41,933
the newer evidence is showing that it's
not always the best option because it
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doesn't have all the nutrients
that the child may need.
00:01:44,992 --> 00:01:50,053
So, I would definitely incorporate bananas
and rice and you could do the apple and
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toast, but you also wanna make sure
to try to also get other foods,
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if they're able to tolerate it,
like lentils, there's some soups,
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because it's important to
give them some protein and
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some nutritious foods that
the BRAT diet doesn't always have.
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When it comes to diarrhea we do not
recommend any anti diarrheal medication
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because it's so important for the virus
to run its course and get out but
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what we can do, a lot of the studies have
shown that probiotics can be helpful.
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If it’s an infectious diarrhea that it
can help shorten the course because
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the probiotics help replenish the gut
with the bacteria that it's losing
00:02:28,388 --> 00:02:29,750
in the diarrhea.
00:02:29,750 --> 00:02:32,480
So that is something else that you
should talk to your doctor about.
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Gastroenteritis. Washington, DC: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (Accessed on February 1, 2018 at https://medlineplus.gov/gastroenteritis.html.)
Viral gastroenteritis. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2012. (Accessed on February 1, 2018 at https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/viral-gastroenteritis.)