Stomachaches are very common in children. Symptoms usually last 2 to 3 days, and include vomiting and/or diarrhea. The typical stomach bug can usually be taken care of at home. Make sure you give your child plenty of fluids. Pedialyte is best, but apple juice, Gatorade and ginger ale will work in a pinch.
Do not give your child medicine that stops diarrhea, like Imodium, which is intended for adults only. Diarrhea is the body’s way of getting rid of the virus in your child’s system. A common myth surrounding children with stomachaches is that you can’t give them certain foods (like dairy and fatty foods for example). Whatever they are in the mood for is OK, but realize that they probably won’t have much of an appetite.
You should take your child to the doctor if they have any of the following symptoms:
* Their stomachache is so several that they can’t get out of bed or move around at all.
* There is blood in the stool (indicates a different type of bug that needs treatment). * They have green or red vomit. This could be a sign of a blockage, so take them to the emergency room immediately.
* They have pain that is localized in their right side. This could be a symptom of appendicitis.
* They are extremely sleepy.
If you do have to get help from a doctor, they will do a careful exam to diagnose the problem. They may also do an X-ray or ultrasound to get a better look. Our community is fortunate, as Cone Health has an exceptional network of pediatricians, providers and community partners dedicated to helping you in your family’s health care journey.
Suresh Nagappan, MD, MSPH, has been with Cone Health since 2004. He is currently the medical director for the Children’s Unit at Moses Cone Hospital, is a member of Cone Health Medical Group and serves as the director of the UNC medical school campus in Greensboro. Before joining Cone Health, he spent 4 months as a volunteer physician in Malawi, Africa, at a rural hospital. He earned his doctorate of medicine at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine.