Gastroenteritis is also known as stomach flu. It is mostly known by the two most common symptoms it shows which are vomiting and diarrhoea.

During gastroenteritis, your child’s stomach and intestines swell up due to a bacterial or viral infection. This is mostly caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or drinks.

Gastroenteritis can be easily prevented by avoiding unhygienic intake of food. As a parent, you should be inculcating the habit of frequently washing hands in your child. This serves as the best prevention against stomach flu.

Gastroenteritis affects your stomach and intestines. The following symptoms may appear during the disease:

  • Your child will pass watery stool. Make sure it is not bloody. If it is intact with blood, that usually indicates some other severe infection and should be tested immediately.

  • Your child will have a muscle-ache or body pains

  • Your child may also have fever, however, it remains low

  • Your child will be nauseous and may also vomit

  • Your child will have a stomach ache and cramps

It is very common for your child to be dehydrated if he or she is throwing up and passing stool continuously. Dehydration is a medication condition which needs your immediate attention. The following symptoms may appear if your child is mildly dehydrated:

  • Your child will hardly pass any urine. You can easily track this if you know the number of times your child usually passes urine in a day

  • Your child is crying but you see no tears or very less tears

  • Your child has a dry mouth

  • Your child has dryness of his tongue and lips

  • Your child is feeling very weak

  • Your child is fatigued and lethargic

Look out for below symptoms which indicate severe dehydration. If these occur, bring your child to the 24/7 Emergency and Acute Care Services at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately.

  • Your child is breathing very fast

  • Your child has cold hands and feet

  • Your child is drowsy and has fainted

  • Your child has very pale skin

  • Your baby has a sunken soft spot (fontanel) on the top of his or her head​

If you witness any of the above symptoms in your child, you should seek the medical expertise of the doctors working with the Family Health or the  Children’s Hospital Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital for an accurate diagnosis and timely treatment. 
Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.
Your doctor will conduct a simple physical exam and ask for all your symptoms to diagnose this disease. There is usually nothing to panic about, unless your child is severely dehydrated.

In some cases, your doctor may ask for stool tests that may include:

  • ​​Complete Blood count (CBC): One or more parameters related to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets might be affected in this condition, giving a clue towards etiology and further diagnostic approach. Therefore, it is an ancillary test in the diagnostic workup of this disease.
  • Stool for rotavirus: one of the most common cause of gastroenteritis

    Stool DR: will also tell parasitic infections

    Stool culture: for bacterial causes of gastroenteritis​

Disclaimer: Kindly consult your physician before getting the above-mentioned tests.

There is no specific treatment of gastroenteritis.

The immediate corrective measure should be to hydrate your child before coming back to normal food regime.

  • If your child is breast-fed, you should continue to breast-feed if they will take it. This will usually be in addition to extra rehydration drinks.

  • If your child is bottle-fed, you feed them with their normal full-strength feeds if they take them.

  • Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) may be needed to replenish essential fluids, electrolytes and glucose during times of dehydration. If dehydration is severe, intravenous (IV) fluids may be required.

  • For older kids, food should be offered every now and then. However, if he or she does not want to eat, that is fine. Drinks are the most important and food can wait until their appetite returns.​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.
The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.
Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.