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Gastritis in Children: Care Instructions

A child's throat, esophagus, and stomach

Your Care Instructions

Gastritis is a sore and upset stomach that happens when something irritates the stomach lining. Many things can cause gastritis. They include a viral illness such as the flu, something your child ate or drank, or medicines.

You can treat minor stomach upset at home.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • Note when your child gets an upset stomach. Write down any foods, medicines, or events that seem to cause stomach upset. Avoid these in the future.
  • Do not give your child over-the-counter medicines without talking to your doctor first. Do not give Pepto-Bismol or other medicines that contain salicylates, a form of aspirin.
  • Watch for and treat signs of dehydration, which means that the body has lost too much water. Your child's mouth may feel very dry. Your child may have sunken eyes with few tears when crying. Your child may lack energy and want to be held a lot. And your child may not urinate as often as usual.
  • Give your child lots of fluids a little at a time. This is very important if your child is vomiting or has diarrhea. Give your child sips of water or drinks such as Pedialyte or Gastrolyte. These drinks contain a mix of salt, sugar, and minerals. You can buy them at drugstores or grocery stores. Give these drinks as long as your child is throwing up or has diarrhea. Do not use them as the only source of liquids or food for more than 12 to 24 hours.
  • Avoid foods that make your child's symptoms worse. These may include chocolate, mint, alcohol, pepper, spicy foods, high-fat foods, or drinks with caffeine in them, such as tea, coffee, colas, or energy drinks.
  • Start to offer small amounts of food when your child feels like eating.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child is confused, does not know where he or she is, or is extremely sleepy or hard to wake up.
  • Your child vomits blood or what looks like coffee grounds.
  • Your child passes maroon or very bloody stools.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has severe belly pain.
  • Your child's stools are black and tar-like or have streaks of blood.
  • Your child has signs of needing more fluids. These signs include sunken eyes with few tears, dry mouth with little or no spit, and little or no urine for 6 hours.
  • Your child has stomach pain that begins suddenly and does not stop, especially after your child passes gas or stool.
  • Your child cannot keep any liquids down for longer than 8 hours.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your child does not improve in 2 days.
  • Your child has new symptoms, such as a rash, an earache, or a sore throat.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.