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Stomach Virus: 3 common mistakes to avoid

Inflammatory bowel disease -- This disease comes in primarily two types: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both cause inflammation of the digestive tract, as well as pain, diarrhea and even malnutrition. But because
Inflammatory bowel disease -- This disease comes in primarily two types: Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Both cause inflammation of the digestive tract, as well as pain, diarrhea and even malnutrition. But because (iStock / szefei)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – When a nasty stomach bug tears through your family, you'll do anything to make the pain and vomiting stop.

Dr. Wendy Sapolski is a pediatrician with the Carithers Pediatric Group and she's seen it all when it comes to tummy trouble. Here are the three most common mistakes she says parents need to avoid on the road to recovery. 

Mistake #1: Feeling guilty if they're not eating

The top mistake she sees in almost all cases is parents worrying about their child's lack of appetite when they're sick to their stomach.

“They feel guilty if they don't eat but what I always tell parents is, it's okay if they're not hungry and they don't eat. The most important thing is to just get fluids in and stay ahead of the losses…just keep them hydrated,” said Dr. Sapolski.

Mistake #2: Giving water immediately after they vomit

While it's important to keep them hydrated, it's just as important that you avoid giving them too much water immediately after they vomit. 

Dr. Sapolski said don't give them six ounces all at once, just do an ounce or two every 15 to 30 min- especially if they're still actively throwing up.

Waiting at least 15 minutes after they vomit gives time for their inflamed stomach to calm down. Once they start feeling better you can slowly add carbs to their diet after a few days.

Mistake #3: Using over-the-counter medicine

Another mistake is using over-the-counter medicine to treat diarrhea. Dr. Sapolski says unless it's approved by a doctor, never give your child anti-diarrhea medicine -especially if they're under 12-year-old.

“It can paralyze the gut and you want the virus to shed itself from the gut and with those medications, it can actually prolong the virus,” said Dr. Sapolski.

Children need to see a doctor if they have persistent vomiting with abdominal pain. If they have a fever and vomiting without diarrhea, it could be something more severe.