Stomach Infection in Kids: Symptoms, Treatment and Home Remedies


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health

General Health

5 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Children, especially toddlers, have poor personal hygiene habits and are prone to putting things in their mouth
  • In more serious cases, fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhoea is cause for concern and requires treatment
  • Here’s all you need to know about children’s gastroenteritis and how to keep it under control

As a parent, it can be very alarming to realise that your toddler or child has taken ill. Unfortunately, children are very susceptible to developing illnesses. This is mainly due to the fact that children, especially toddlers, have poor personal hygiene habits and are prone to putting things in their mouth. As a result, a common health problem is gastroenteritis in kids, which is informally called stomach flu in kids. A stomach infection in kids can be caused by a parasite, bacteria, or virus, and is primarily a digestive disorder. When left unchecked, the symptoms continue to worsen, with dehydration being the most noticeable and dangerous of them all.

In some cases, a stomach bug in kids doesn’t require medical attention as it can clear up on its own. However, for this to happen, early detection of the child’s stomach infection and use of home remedies for gastroenteritis in toddlers are of key importance. In more serious cases, fluid loss due to vomiting and diarrhoea is cause for concern and requires treatment. But, with proper care, this can be avoided. So, to help you get ahead of it and be prepared to handle a stomach infection in your home, here’s all you need to know about children’s gastroenteritis and how to keep it under control.

What causes gastroenteritis in kids?

When it comes to children’s gastroenteritis, the most common cause is a virus, but there are also other factors like bacteria, parasites, drugs, and chemical toxins. Among the viruses, the astrovirus, rotavirus, norovirus, and adenovirus are known to cause viral gastroenteritis. These can be contracted from other children at school or a day care centre, or from any individual that has previously been exposed to it. Here, poor hygiene, sneezing, and spitting are the main ways in which the virus is transmitted.

With regards to bacteria, there are 6 main types that cause gastroenteritis in kids.

  1. Yersinia
  2. Salmonella
  3. Shigella
  4. Campylobacter
  5. Escherichia Coli (E. Coli)
  6. Clostridium difficile

These are usually present in contaminated foods and water, and thus, can be contracted through consumption. However, children can also contract bacterial gastroenteritis by coming into close contact with animals carrying the bacteria.

Parasites are also another notable cause of a stomach infection in toddlers. Two parasites, namely, cryptosporidium and giardia are responsible for such infections and they can be contracted in two ways. Firstly, by drinking contaminated water and secondly, through faecal-oral transmission, which can happen at day care centres or due to poor hygiene.

What are the symptoms of stomach flu in kids?

The best way to get ahead of a stomach infection in kids is to pay close attention to the symptoms. Ensure not to confuse the symptoms of stomach flu in kids with the symptoms of worms in stomach in toddlers, especially if the child complains of abdominal pain. To avoid this, here are the symptoms to look for.

  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Cramps in the stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Poor appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Tiredness

What are the home remedies for stomach infection in kids?

There are many natural stomach flu remedies for toddlers and kids but it is important to assess the situation properly. If the child seems dehydrated, skip the home remedies and get treatment as soon as possible. If in the early stages, try these home remedies for gastroenteritis in toddlers.

  • Avoid solid foods for a few hours
  • Rehydrate the child to avoid dehydration
  • Feed your children with bland foods like banana, toast, rice, and crackers

What stomach infection medicine for kids will doctors recommend?

When the situation worsens, doctors will first examine the patient to determine the cause before prescribing a stomach infection medicine for a child or toddler. Do not self-administer antibacterial medications because they will not work on viruses. If it is a virus, there is no targeted treatment and the doctors will prescribe pain relievers to help the child stay comfortable through recovery. Also, avoid any type of anti-nausea or antidiarrheal medication as both vomiting and diarrhoea can help flush out the virus. For certain infections, antibiotics may be prescribed by doctors.

Additional Read: A Guide To Diarrhoea: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

How can you prevent a stomach infection in kids?

To prevent infection, here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • Use different towels at home
  • Instruct your child to avoid sharing spoons, straws, and other such utensils in school
  • Teach your child good hygiene practices, especially after using the toilet
  • Keep your toddlers toys clean, especially if someone in the house has an illness

Dealing with a stomach infection in kids can be relatively easy if you know how the disease generally progresses and what to do to combat it. Nursing your child back to health with any of the above-mentioned home remedies for stomach infection in toddlers is a good place to start. Additionally, it is important to remember that a viral infection is quite contagious. It is likely that you could get infected in the process, so it may be wise to plan for it. Consider avoiding meetings and close contact with others until you’re healthy too. If the symptoms of gastroenteritis worsen, don’t delay seeking medical care. To visit the right primacy care provider, use the Bajaj Finserv Health App.

This digital tool makes access to quality healthcare simple and as easy as a few taps on your smartphone. With it, you enjoy a range of telemedicine features. For instance, you can use the smart doctor search feature to find the best specialists in your area and book appointments at their clinics online. Further, you can consult doctors virtually over video if a physical visit isn’t possible or if you prefer to get an opinion without having to leave your house. You can also use the app to safely store your health records and send them over to doctors for better online consultations. The app’s features make remote care effective and reliable, especially in a pinch. To access these benefits today, download the app for free from Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Published on 7 May 2021Last updated on 18 Nov 2022

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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