Intestinal Flu in a toddler? Constipation, vomiting..?

(February 23, 2010)

Abdominal pain in a toddler is quite common, but it may be difficult to understand the exact cause of distress if your toddler still hasn’t picked up verbal skills. Abdominal pain may be due to many causes such as colic, food poisoning, gas, heartburn, hepatitis or a food allergy. But if it is also accompanied by diarrhea and vomiting, it could be an indication of intestinal flu.

Intestinal flu and how is it caused

Intestinal or stomach flu is a common occurrence among children. Doctors may also call it as ‘gastroenteritis’, which is the term usually used to describe any inflammation in the region of the stomach.

•    Intestinal flu is usually caused by a viral infection. Viruses like astrovirus, adenovirus, calicivirus and rotavirus are the most common culprits.

•    Sometimes, it could be caused by bacteria. Salmonella, staphylococcus, E. coli, Campylobacter and Shigells are some serious bacterial infections.

•    Parasites like Giardia can also give rise to symptoms of intestinal flu.

Symptoms of Intestinal flu: Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and may continue for just a few hours or for many days, depending upon the germs causing it.

Your toddler may suffer

•    Diarrhea
•    Severe pain in the abdomen
•    Vomiting
•    Fever

Treatment for Intestinal flu

If a virus is the cause, as it usually is, it cannot be treated with antibiotics. But diarrhea and vomiting, followed by loss of appetite may cause dehydration. Consult your doctor immediately.

•    You will probably be asked to give your baby some oral electrolyte solution. This will help to replace the minerals, salts and fluids which have been lost. Give it in small sips so that it can be retained.

•    Avoid fatty foods until the condition becomes normal.


If your baby is vomiting constantly, it may become a cause for concern, since it may lead to dehydration, loss of nutrition and weakness. It is necessary to find out the exact cause of vomiting.

While intestinal flu is the most common cause, vomiting may also be caused by food poisoning or as an allergy to some new food, which has been recently introduced in your baby’s diet. Sometimes it could be something more serious such as hepatitis.

If your toddler is vomiting repeatedly, consult your doctor immediately. In the meantime, try to replace the fluid by giving an electrolyte solution.


When your toddler does not pass stool for two or three days, and then the stool is small, hard and dry, it could indicate constipation.

It could be caused by:

•    Not enough fiber in the diet.

•    Not drinking sufficient water.

•    Lack of exercise.

•    Toilet anxiety, especially if you are trying to introduce toilet training.

See that your toddler gets enough exercise and introduce more fruits and vegetables in his/her daily diet.

Submitted by P T on February 23, 2010 at 10:42

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