Infant Stomach Flu
Stomach flu is highly contagious. As a result, stomach flu transmission in infants can occur quite easily through the following methods:
- Through ingestion of contaminated food or water
- Direct contact with contaminated surfaces and then putting their hands in their mouth.
Infants can spread stomach flu both before and after they become sick with diarrhea. They can sometimes pass the virus to other members of the family and to close contacts, such as daycare providers.
Once the virus has entered the body, it travels to the small intestine, where it begins to multiply. Approximately 1 to 2 days later, symptoms of infant stomach flu can appear. This period between infection with the stomach flu and the beginning of stomach flu symptoms is known as the "stomach flu incubation period."
Not all infants who are infected with a stomach flu virus will develop associated symptoms. If stomach flu symptoms do occur, the illness begins suddenly. Symptoms of infant stomach flu can last anywhere from 1 to 10 days, depending on which virus an infant is infected with. Stomach flu symptoms can be mild to severe. The most common stomach flu symptoms in infants are diarrhea and vomiting.
(Click Stomach Flu Symptoms for more information.)
You should call your healthcare provider if your infant:
- Has watery diarrhea
- Has a temperature at or above 100.4°F (38°C).
You should also call the doctor if your baby shows signs of dehydration, including:
- No wet diapers for more than 5 hours
- Lack of tears when crying
- Lack of energy
- Frequent crying or irritability.