Cincinnati Family Magazine

Your # 1 Hometown Family Resource

April 22, 2024

Tummy VIrus Woes

It’s the middle of the night and your little one is sick …

There’s nothing as lowly for kids as a stomach virus, and Middle Tennessee is seeing its fare share. Gastroenteritis – the plain old stomach virus – can last anywhere from 1 to 3 days and make a child feel crummy. It’s also tough on parents who have to clean up after the vomiting (which can happen in the middle of the night) and who try painstakingly to keep the virus from spreading to everyone in the house while they care for their sick child. Stomach viruses are highly contagious.

Symptoms of a stomach virus include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, inability to go to the bathroom, dry skin and dry mouth.

What to do if it Strikes at Night

• After your child has an initial bout of vomiting (which can get on sheets, the floor, furniture), it’s time to go to work cleaning the area. Remove sheets and anything else that has gotten soiled and bag in a plastic bag until morning (if this happens in the middle of the night) or rinse then toss in the washing machine immediately. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling anything your child has soiled.

• Next, provide a large grocery bag lined with a plastic bag and show your child how to use it by holding both side of the bag and putting his

• Consider putting your child on an air mattress in your room to keep close to him through a rough night. Do your best to keep bedding clean, change out plastic bags that have been soiled and always, always, wash your hands after every little thing you do tending to your sick child.

• Be kind and patient to your child – rubbing his back through a rough bout of heaving shows him how much you care. Praise his efforts to “make it” into the bag or to get to the toilet when needed.

• Once there’s no vomiting for three or four hours, give him a small amount of fluid and wait 20 – 30 minutes to see if he can handle it

• Gradually increase the amount of fluid your child receives once there’s no vomiting for 3 to four hours

• Allow your child to eat again after 24 hours without vomiting; call the doctor if it starts again



About the Author

Susan Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief of Cincinnati Family Magazine and a mother of four.