Gastritis in Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

A child's throat, esophagus, and stomach

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 call line 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 or nurse call line if you think your child is having a problem with his or her 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. He or she may have sunken eyes with few tears when crying. Your child may lack energy and want to be held a lot. He or she may not urinate as often as usual.
  • Give your child lots of fluids, enough so that the urine is light yellow or clear like water. 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.
  • Your child's urine will be darker, and he or she will not need to urinate as often as usual.
  • Limit chocolate and cola drinks. They have caffeine, which can increase stomach acid.
  • When your child feels better, give him or her dry toast, crackers, bananas, low-fat yogurt, cooked cereal, or gelatin dessert, such as Jell-O.

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 call 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 call 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 https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: July 26, 2016