How to Avoid Getting the Stomach Flu From Kids

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The stomach flu, medically known as viral gastroenteritis, is an infection of the intestines. Although most people catch the stomach flu by ingesting contaminated food or water, you also can pick up this infection by coming into contact with an infected person. Children commonly pick up the stomach flu because they have immature immune systems. Stomach flu symptoms typically include diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps and vomiting. You cannot effectively treat the stomach flu, so it is best to avoid getting it, according to MayoClinic.com.

Step 1

Don't share personal items with a sick kid. Avoid using the same glasses, dishes or utensils with your child if she has the stomach flu. MayoClinic.com also suggests using separate bathroom towels and clothing items.

Step 2

Disinfect any contaminated surfaces in your home. Promptly clean any surface your sick child touches, including counters, doorknobs, faucets, phones and computer keyboards or mouses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends disinfecting with household bleach or chlorine bleach-based cleansers.

Step 3

Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. MayoClinic.com recommends rubbing your soapy hands vigorously for a minimum of 20 seconds before rinsing. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer for extra protection against stomach flu germs.

Step 4

Get a vaccine. Although several different viruses can trigger viral gastroenteritis, MayoClinic.com reports that the rotavirus commonly causes this infection in children. The rotavirus vaccine might not prevent you from catching this illness but should prevent the symptoms from becoming too severe.

Step 5

Boost the health of your body's immune system. A healthy immune system is better able to fight off infections. AskDrSears.com suggests eating plenty of foods that contain vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc and selenium. Omega-3 essential fatty acids found in salmon, walnuts and flaxseed oil can stop your body from overreacting to a stomach flu infection.

Things You'll Need

  • Household bleach

  • Chlorine bleach-based cleansers

  • Soap

  • Warm water

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizer

  • Vaccine

Tip

Make sure your sick child washes his hands thoroughly after using the bathroom. This can help prevent the spread of any stomach flu germs. Stomach flu symptoms appear between one and three days after you come into contact with an infected child and generally last one or two days.

Warning

Don't allow your sick child to handle any food or beverage items.

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