With the recent gastro outbreak in Victoria, we thought it was a good time to touch base with Penny from @sick.happens for some tips. Penny has been a registered Paediatric Nurse for more than 10 years, has a Masters in Nursing, and also has one of the most interactive and informative Instagram accounts we know.
Good ol’ gastro.
It’s horrendous isn’t it?
But how do you support our little ones during and after the vomiting?
Hydration is always a top priority, but what should they drink?
It all depends 😕
Little ones that are still breastfeeding—keep offering the breast. Breastmilk is INCREDIBLE at hydrating your child. You can continue to offer the breast even if they continue to vomit.
If your child is formula feeding, offer small amounts and see if they can keep it down after the vomiting has stopped. Slowly build back up to their usual volumes.
If your child is eating solids, make sure fluids are still the top priority over foods. Don’t worry if they aren’t interested in eating food.
What about water?
Water is an amazing fluid of choice, but if this is all they are consuming, then you may need something with a *little* sugar. This doesn’t mean loading teaspoons of sugar into their sippy cup, but think about the following ideas:
- Diluted juice — 1 part juice to 4 parts water
- Ice blocks
- Oral Rehydration Solutions such as Gastrolyte or Hydralyte
Because children’s blood sugar levels can drop during vomiting PLUS a refusal to eat or drink.
A child with low blood sugar levels can appear very drowsy, lethargic, confused, have headaches, have a fast heart rate, be pale, and/or sweaty. In serious cases, very low blood sugar levels can lead to seizures or loss of consciousness.
If you are ever worried that your child is becoming dehydrated or has a low blood sugar level, please seek immediate medical attention.
Ok, what can we do to help parents when our kids go down with gastro?
You know, how do we make our lives easier when trying to catch and clean up all the different bodily fluids? These are my top tips:
1. Hand wash!
2. Try to cover everything with waterproof mats like Rudie Nudie's, to save you cleaning lounges, rugs and carpet.
3. Try to use buckets or containers to avoid vomit going everywhere.
4. Prep their beds (or yours if they are jumping in with you) to save you some washing.
5. Pop washing baskets around to keep contaminated linen and clothes contained until you can wash them.
6. Clean highly used surfaces like bench tops, light switches, cupboards, toilet buttons, door handles etc with a disinfectant of choice.
7. Give lots of snuggles and cuddles.
8. And AVOID EVERYONE until 48 hours after symptoms subside. This means fever, vomiting or diarrhoea. You’ve got to stop the spread!
You’ve got this team 💪
Want to learn more from Sick Happens?
On Penny's website you'll be able to book in for an education session; check out her eGuide about the signs, symptoms and complications of dehydration; and download her ABC of managing gastro.