How long does typical "stomach flu" last?

Maria - posted on 02/06/2012 ( 22 moms have responded )

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My 4.5 year-old son woke up with the stomach flu one week ago (today is Mon. 2/6). It began with vomiting 1 or 2 times per hour for 5+ hours; luckily, after that the vomiting never returned! But now he's on his 6th day of moderate diarrhea (2-3 bouts per day, loose & messy). He's had no fever, no blood or mucus in stool, and he is eating, drinking, playing and overall feeling good - no signs of dehydration. I'm trying to limit his food to wholesome, non-fatty, low-sugar items. I spoke with the nurse at the ped's office, who told me the stomach flu is going around - half the calls she's received these last few weeks are about it! And she said the diarrhea can last up to 2 weeks!!! If it doesn't resolve by then, she recommended taking in a stool sample to rule out any other problems. Of course, since I'm a worrier, now I'm wondering if it could be "something else." Any other moms going/gone through this?

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Drea - posted on 01/08/2013

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My son John who is 2 years old has been going through the same issue as well since Christmas Day. One day all is well and the next he has diarrhea whichmakes him go to the bathroon about 2 times per day, (Messy and also very loose?. He was vomiting at least once per day, but then stoped for a few days and now he is has vomit in his sleep. I have been giving him lots of liquids to stay hydrated. He does not have an appetite and must have lost about 3 pounds so far. I don't think that this is normal fr a two year old. This is going on 3 weeks, I have taken him to the doctor 2 times and nothing. What do you recomend?

Victoria Kate - posted on 11/15/2013

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Hi there! I have a little girl called Elsie who is coming up to 2year 6months. Last night she was sick (quite spectacularly) about midnight. I gave her plenty of fluids which I thought would come back up but she slept soundly (I didn't!) untill about 7 this morning. Since then she's been charging around eaten some breakfast and drank a cup of water. Basically seems fine?!? Is there such a thing as a 12hour stomach virus?

Kristin - posted on 02/17/2012

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First, I hope it has passed. Second, that is pretty normal. Their digestive tracts are still so new and sensitive, even at 4 to 5 years old. The BRAT diet absolutely helps as soon as vomiting has stopped. I usually give my boys real Greek yogurt, strained and no thickeners added, after a couple of days on the BRAT diet to start rebuilding the good bacteria in their gut. After a few days of that, then I add in cheese. Just don't go overboard, as it could lead to constipation.



And with all this advice, you will be really prepared for the next tummy bug.

Jill - posted on 02/15/2012

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have you tried the "brat" diet? Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Toast. i was always taught when having stomach or diarrhea issues, stick with the "brat" diet to help the digestive system heal itself. anything else just aggravates the issue. he will be hungry as those types of foods dont stick to your ribs, but it will give his digestive "tubes" a chance to heal. try pedialyte for a drink, rather any sports drinks or sugary type drinks. even though he's not showing signs of dehydration, he could still be dehydrated if he has diarrhea. good luck. that must be very frustrating! hope he feels better very soon!

Bonnie - posted on 02/08/2012

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My 5 year old had it back in December. The stomach pains went away after 4 days. He only vomitted once and didn't have much diarrhea.



I wouldn't give any type of stomach meds to a young child. They are not meant for them.



When I had the stomach flu a few months ago, I had pains for 3 days and diarrhea. The diarrhea was only 3 times a day, but even when I thought the stomach flu was gone, I still had diarrhea while my body was trying to get back to itself, for nearly two weeks.

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Mamta - posted on 09/22/2013

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My grand child is suffering from diarrhoea from 19 September.Though she is hospitalised, though the frequency has lessened yet she is not well.

Maria - posted on 01/09/2013

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To Drea: I am sorry your son has been sick. My post was from nearly 1 year ago, and luckily when my son got the stomach bug it only lasted about 8+ days. I think you should keep a log of what your son is eating/drinking, to show it to the doctor the next time you see him/her, to rule out any potential food allergies/intolerance. OR, if it is just a stomach bug, then perhaps you reintroduced certain drinks & foods too soon (for example, I didn't give my son any milk for at least 9 days). In addition, how has your son been feeling/acting??? If he is generally happy & energetic then that is a good sign. But I would definitely follow up with his doctor again, just to be on the safe side! Good luck!

Maria - posted on 02/20/2012

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Hi again everyone. Just wanted to say that YES my son is 100% recovered. In a nutshell, his vomiting lasted 1 day, followed by diarrhea for approx. 4 days, and concluding with 4 days of "soft" & messy stools (though no longer actual diarrhea). By the 9th day his stools had finally firmed up to "normal." It felt like forever! Thanks again to everyone for all the helpful feedback.

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Is he drinking milk or eating milk products? Milk should be avoided for several days after a stomach flu as it can cause diarrhea. This happened to my son once. We cut out dairy for three or four days and then he was fine.

Amy - posted on 02/17/2012

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I do beilive its going around. I had a friend whom got really sick and then her husband came home fro his trip and got it from her, as also her mom that helped with the kids while she was sick. Now my nephew last night out of knowhere vomiting so hes on pedilight.As of this morning my sister, brother inlaw and neice all have it. Lots of fluids and soup and meds i suppose

Sylvia - posted on 02/11/2012

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In my family we actually call that an HBI, for "horrible barfing illness" ;), because "gastroenteritis" takes a long time to say, but it does sound like a norovirus. I've never heard the term "stomach flu" before -- maybe it's regional.

Maria - posted on 02/10/2012

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Hi Sylvia -- Yes I realize that "stomach flu" is not the medically-correct term, because it's not actually a "flu" virus, but it is a commonly-used term to describe a gastro virus. Luckily, my son's tummy virus seems to have cleared up -- the last 2 days poop has been firmer & drier, but I'll continue to be careful with his diet to give his tummy time to fully heal. Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Bonnie - posted on 02/10/2012

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Sylvia, it is a gastro, norwalk type of virus....strong stomach pains, diarrhea, vomitting.

Sylvia - posted on 02/09/2012

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I have no idea what "stomach flu" is -- flu is a respiratory infection, nothing to do with stomachs! -- but that sounds like norovirus or rotavirus to me. Most gastroenteritis viruses are pretty self-limiting, but everyone's different. If there's no weight loss or dehydration, there's probably not much to worry about. Yoghurt with probiotics is good for lingering digestive symptoms.

Maria - posted on 02/08/2012

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Hi Bonnie ... Thanks for your post. It seems that these stomach bugs affect everyone differently. When my son had it last year, he had vomiting for 2 days, seemed on the mend for 2 days, followed by 2 days of diarrhea (6x's per day). Regarding his current illness, I think he's finally starting to get better. He only went 2x's per day over past 2 days, and today his stool is starting to look a bit firmer! Hope it continues.

Maria - posted on 02/07/2012

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Question for Lynn: Regarding the Pepto, I thought you weren't supposed to give it to young children? And what are Nauzene and Emetrol? Luckily both yesterday & today he has only gone twice each day, and it's not the watery/explosive kind of diarrhea; it's more like toddler's diarrhea -- loose, messy and stinky. But I still wish I could magically make it go away.

Elizabeth - posted on 02/07/2012

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Sounds like the noro-virus. Which is similar to the flu. Try the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, apples, toast). That will stop things up. DO NOT give him any dairy - it tends to make things worse. Sounds like it's been going on awfully long though. Lots of fluids!!! Good luck!

Maria - posted on 02/07/2012

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Hi again ... Decided to take my son to ped's office today (Tues., 2/7) and the Dr. said that it appears to be a lingering virus - no signs of bacterial infection (no fever, no blood in stool, etc.) and no signs of dehydration nor other issue (for example, no ear infection, no sore throat). And of course as I told him that overall my son is feeling & eating well. Oh, and he didn't lose any weight (compared to last visit 2 months ago). The doc said I can take in a stool sample "if I want to" - of course I want to and I'll be taking it in tomorrow. So I'll just try to relax - I'm an overly anxious mom and I tend to worry much too much over everything.

Lynn - posted on 02/07/2012

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Have you tried toast, rice and applesauce? What about Pepto bismol, Nauzene, or Emetrol? After so long, I would definetely be taking him to the doctor! I would worry, too.

Crystal - posted on 02/07/2012

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Interesting. I'm sure every case is different...but if you're worried, then I would definitely take him in and ask them to take samples (or go get the stuff so you can do it at home and then take into the lab). It'll put your mind at ease when you find out if nothing is wrong, or if its truly something else. As for food to try, bananas, have him drink pedialyte, startchy foods like pasta (no sauce), or cheese. Best of luck...but always follow your instincts..if you feel it could be something else, don't hesitate to take him in. :)

Danielle - posted on 02/07/2012

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I would make an appointment anyway. Try bananas, they'll toughen up the stools. Yogurt is good too.

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