Norovirus and Kids: What You Need to Know About Stomach Flu in Children

The norovirus, also known as the stomach bug or stomach flu, can be dangerous for young kids. Photo by:  GrahamColm

The norovirus, also known as the stomach bug or stomach flu, can be dangerous for young kids. Photo by: GrahamColm

Kids are affected differently by norovirus, which  infects roughly 20 million people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Noroviruses are a group of viruses that affect the stomach and gastrointestinal tract, resulting in some unpleasant symptoms.

Stomach cramping, vomiting, and diarrhea are all symptoms that come on suddenly with the norovirus. Most people will recover within a day or two, but young children may need some extra care and time to get well.

Norovirus Outbreak: Schools Closed

This winter has been a rough season for the norovirus and it’s not letting up just yet. In Michigan, an outbreak of the norovirus at North Muskegon Public Schools had the Superintendent closing schools on Thursday and Friday. The decision came after 35 students called in sick on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 – and by that morning, 35 more students became ill at school.

This school district has a little less than a thousand students, and about 100 were sick. The school’s cleaning crew will be doing a through cleaning of the schools before students return to class, but parents will still be dealing with the disease at home. So what should you do when your child gets sick with the norovirus?

Dehydration: What to Look For

The norovirus can be very serious and even deadly in young children; due to a young child’s small size, they can quickly become dehydrated. Throwing up and diarrhea cause the body to become more dehydrated and even though you may offer your child something to drink, he or she may not be able to keep it down. Young children who become dehydrated maybe be fussy, unusually sleepy, or cry without producing tears.  In infants, the soft spot (also known as the fontanel) can be sunken in if the infant is dehydrated. Also look for pale skin, and monitor how many wet diapers your baby has.

Click to Read Page Two: Norovirus Treatment for Kids

© Copyright 2013 Janelle Vaesa, MPH, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
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