Most will have 1-2 days of vomiting, fever and abdominal pain usually followed by profuse diarrhea, generally, for viral infections, it is non bloody. Bacterial infections are more likely to be bloody and you should seek medical advice for this.
For most viral gastroenteritis, it is self limited and hydration is key. If your child becomes much less active or lethargic, has decreased urine production (infants should have at least 1 wet diaper every 8 hours), inability to keep small amounts of clear fluid down, bloody stools or severe abdominal pain, you should contact your pediatrician.
To keep them hydrated, given them small amounts of clear fluid every 20-30 minutes if they are vomiting. If the vomiting has stopped, you can advance the diet as tolerated. Even though it may slightly worsen the diarrhea, it is important to get them to a regular diet as quick as possible to heal their gut. Prolonged clear fluids wont do this.
We will call gastroenteritis the 'stomach flu' but it is not caused by the Influenza virus and therefore, the flu shot will not be effective against this. Infants now receive the Rotavirus vaccine at 2, 4 and 6 months which is very effective in preventing that specific virus. Unfortunately, what seems to be going around now is a different virus called Norovirus.
Families First Pediatrics has two locations, 1268 West South Jordan Parkway, Suite 201 in South Jordan (801) 254-9700, and 13242 South 5600 West in Herriman (801) 987-8541. For more information, please visit: Families First Pediatrics.