Offered by Janine Lechleitner, CPNP of Premier Pediatrics
Pediatric Viral Gastroenteritis – “Mom, I’m going to throw up!” Those dreaded words….. Viruses remains the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis in children. “Globally, rotavirus is still the leading cause of severe diarrhea in infants and young children.”  Approximately 453,000 children worldwide aged 5 years and younger died from rotavirus in 2008. Since the inception of the rotavirus vaccine in 2006, approximately 40,000-50,000 pediatric hospitalizations have been prevented yearly in the US. 
Bacterial infections account for a small percent (2-10%) of pediatric gastroenteritis in developed countries, and compared to viral gastroenteritis are more likely to have symptoms of high fevers, shaking chills, bloody stools, and severe abdominal cramping.
Typical symptoms of viral gastroenteritis include vomiting, non-bloody diarrhea, abdominal pain, tiredness, fussiness, and fever.
Children rarely need IV fluids. Oral rehydration is the treatment of choice. With infants, mothers should feed more frequently than usual. For persistent vomiting at any age, fluids like Pedialyte or Gatorade should be given as follows: 5 mL every 5-10 minutes for 30-60 minutes. If no vomiting then increase by 5 mL every 30-60 minutes. If vomiting occurs, stop for 30-45 minutes then restart at 5 mL.
After 4 hours, children can usually return to a normal diet. Start with easy to digest foods like yogurt, lean meats, rice, pasta, etc.
Antidiarrheal medications such as Imodium are not recommended in children. Probiotics are okay to give.
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