Home » Gastroenteritis or winter sickness in children- infection, incubation time

Gastroenteritis or winter sickness in children- infection, incubation time

Children who are vomiting

Facts and advice for stomach ailments direct from paediatricians. Diarrhea and vomiting in children are almost always due to gastric disease, a viral infection which is also called stomach flu, winter vomiting illness or gastroenteritis. The gastrointestinal virus is highly contagious and is found in many with both diarrhea and vomiting. It is especially contagious with direct contact. The incubation period for gastric disease varies between different viruses from one to four days.

How Stomach Disease spread

In every person suffering vomiting and diarrhea, this could be due to lots of stomach ailments. The most common gastrointestinal virus in Sweden is calicivirus, which is divided into noro- and sapoviruses. They cause what is called winter sickness, as they are most common in winter. But the infections are year-round. The Public Health Authority follows the state of calicivirus in Sweden.

The virus is transmitted through direct contact, or from viruses spread through vomiting or diarrhea on hands or clothes, on food that you eat, or other objects you touch. To reduce the risk of infection as much as possible, hand wash, hand wash, hand wash. After visiting the toilet and changing nappies. After vomiting and handling dirty laundry. Before eating food and cooking. Handwash is not effective against viruses, so it is soap and water that applies. And paper towels. Perhaps my best bet is to prevent the spread of infection in the family: wash the towels at 60 degrees and place them in the wardrobe until everyone is healthy.

Stomach flu incubation time

The incubation period for gastric disease varies between different viruses. Winter intestinal disease is caused by norovirus or sapovirus. For norovirus, the incubation time is about one day, for sapovirus 1.7 days. Rotavirus has about 2 days incubation time while astrovirus has 4 days incubation time.


Did you get infected before the winter sickness outbreak?

No, you do not get infected before the winter sickness outbreak, but the problem is that you do not know when it will break out until when you first vomit. And then you definitely get infected. As an adult, you might run away and vomit controlled, thus minimizing the infection. But a child will vomit where it is, and infect others.

How long do you suffer with stomach upsets?

You are definitely infected as long as you have vomiting and diarrhea and a general recommendation worth following is that you are home from school and work for up to 48 hours after the last symptoms were showing. It is worth noting, however, that it is possible to secrete gastrointestinal virus significantly longer than that in the stool, but there is nothing you can do about it.

How do you know it is a stomach upset?

In the case of sudden intensive vomiting, diarrhea and fever, the diagnosis is not so difficult, it would appear to be stomach flu. If the child only has diarrhea and fever but no vomiting, it is probably also the stomach flu

Just vomiting, is it stomach upset?

Only vomiting can indicate a stomach illness, but it doesn't have to be. If there is stomach upset in the environment and the vomiting comes quickly, perhaps along with fever, then it is probably a viral stomach illness.

Watch out for the combination of vomiting and headaches. Certainly, headaches can be a symptom of dehydration due to a stomach upset. But it can also be a sign of increased pressure in the brain, so if headaches are a defining symptom - seek medical attention urgently for assessment.

A single vomiting incident can be a stomach ailment, but it's hard to be sure. You can make an overall assessment of the circumstances when deciding how long you isolate the child from kindergarten etc.

Fever and CRP for stomach flu

Often, but not always, you have a fever in cases of a stomach upset. The fever can sometimes be high, and then it becomes extra important to get fluids. CRP may be normal (<5) or elevated, sometimes markedly elevated. A CRP over 50 in a child with stomach disease and bloody diarrhea may indicate a bacterial cause, but, for example, adenovirus often gives CRP over 100. It is often pointless to test CRP in a child with gastric disease when the diagnosis is clear anyway.

Vomiting in children with diabetes

Vomiting in children with diabetes is acid poisoning (diabetes ketoacidosis) until proven otherwise. Check blood sugar and ketones. Then follow instructions from your diabetes clinic regarding giving insulin if the ketones are high. If the ketones are not dropping properly or you are unsure - seek emergency care. Maybe you have an emergency phone number to call your diabetes pediatrician. Otherwise, seek emergency care. If the child is unresponsive, call an ambulance.

If your child begins to vomit intensively after a period of being very thirsty, peeing and drinking a lot, then it can be a new case of diabetes. Seek emergency medical care immediately to examine it and get emergency treatment. Acid poisoning diabetes is a life-threatening but treatable condition.

Treatment of gastric disease

In cases of stomach ailments, the only thing you have to remember is that the child gets enough fluid. It is so important that we have our very own post on it.

Medication for stomach upset

Fluid replacement is the most important medicine for stomach upsets. In the ER you often receive a remedy for vomiting called Zofran or Ondansetron. It is not formally approved as a remedy for winter sickness, but often prevents vomiting effectively. It is on prescription and there is no tradition of buying it for home use in Sweden.

In copious diarrhea it is good to give a diarrhea medication. For small children Hidrasec is recommended, which reduces the secretions from the intestine. It is on prescription but quite new to the Swedish market and you may therefore need to ask your doctor if it is appropriate to buy it.

In the case of abundant diarrhea in older children and teenagers, the non-prescription Loperamide (Dimor or Imodium) can also be given, but this should not be given to smaller children due to the side effect risk.

How long does stomach flu last?

A viral stomach illness can last for anywhere from one day to three weeks. If you have ample diarrhea, it may be worth asking for a prescription of Hidrasec to reduce intestinal losses if the stomach illness appears to be prolonged. But if you don't, you just have to wait. If you need to wait for more than a week, you may have to ask for a medical certificate from the health center or perhaps a doctor.

Prevent stomach upsets

It is not easy to prevent winter sickness. But keeping yourself and the children at home with stomach upsets and 48 hours after is a good start. Not meeting obviously infected people is another good tip. If you are sick you should not cook for others if possible (difficult if you are single, but otherwise it is often possible). Use paper towels and plastic gloves that you throw away when handling vomit and stools.

There is a vaccine for stomach upset that can be given to infants, the rotavirus vaccine. Since it was introduced into the Swedish BVC program, the number of children who need to be cared for in hospitals due to diarrhea and severe gastric illness has decreased significantly.

Read more:

Liquid replacement for children - recipes to prevent dehydration at home

Baby poop - what is normal and not? Green poop or slimy - what does it mean?

Rotavirus vaccine - effect and side effects

Gastroenteritis and breastfeeding

Stomach pain in children - can it be appendicitis and what to do?

Milk protein allergy in babies and milk-free formula for infants

Brain inflammation or meningitis in children - fever, neck stiffness, neck pain

32 thoughts on “Magsjuka eller vinterkräksjuka hos barn – smitta, inkubationstid”

  1. What a wonderful blog for us worried parents. Thanks! I wonder one thing, about viral stomach ailment, can one get infected by inhaling the smell from a sick person's vomiting or stools? Because usually it smells awfully bad and you feel sick only when you feel the smell.

    1. Hi Madelene! Thanks for the nice words. When a person is vomiting or has diarrhea, it is possible that some viruses are sprayed into the air next to it. There is speculation that it could cause stomach ache in the person who inhales and then swallows the virus, but it is not proven. But it is not the smell that causes the infection. So, presumably, an old saliva or diarrhea is not contagious to smell as long as you do not whip it in the air.

  2. Hi. Top blog.
    Can children be stomach upset for several days up to 2 weeks? And only occasionally vomit at night? Without diarrhea. Just so spicy on the day but not so much food.

    1. Yes, they can. But if it continues it is a good idea to check that there is no other reason for the baby to vomit.

  3. Hi. The dotteen of 2.5 years has diarrhea and they say stomach ailments but she has only diaree and only 1-2 diapers changed. It was every so about 2-3 weeks. Is it really a stomach ailment she got or can it be something else?

    1. Hard to say. Most likely, it is probably a long-term stomach disease if it has not been so before. But if it continues for a few more weeks, it is reasonable to seek a doctor for an examination.
      Greetings
      Cecilia

  4. Hey!
    Thanks for a great page. My children always smell of acetone when they have a fever and especially in the case of vomiting. Why is it so? Our 4.5 year old has been tested with solid sugar a few years ago. Can diabetes with ketoacidosis debut without the excessive thirst?

    1. Hey!

      When the children are consumed with less carbohydrates than they do with, the body creates acetone-smelling substances as an energy reserve. If the children appear as they usually do with stomach ailments or a fever, you need not worry about diabetes with ketoacidosis. As a rule, this diagnosis has been preceded by a period of excessive thirst and extra abundant kissing.

  5. I wonder if you can infect each other several times with stomach ailment? So the son gets sick first, a few days later the daughter and then me. Then the son has been symptom free for 2 days but is sick with vomiting again. Is it that he has been infected with the same virus again or is it a new / different virus now?

  6. Really love the blog, it has helped me so many times I sought answers! Big thanks Cecilia! Now to my question, if my 3 year old has stomach ailment, should both me and my husband stay home from work for the time being? Even though we are both perfectly healthy? Neither I nor my husband have been infected with any of the 3 occasions the son has gone on stomach disease so far. I myself have not had stomach disease since I was a child myself. There are so many shared opinions on how to act, etc. But my idea is that it should be enough for one of us VABs? Or do we risk spreading the infection even though we are not sick?

    1. Thanks for the nice words! No one pays you if you are at home when the other wobbles… As an adult, you go to work when the children are sick if you are healthy yourself.

  7. Hi, the 48 hour rule; how to count it in case of stomach upset? From last vomit or from when eating whole normally? After all, it takes a while after the last vomiting before you feel like eating fully, even if you keep what you eat ..

  8. What a great side! Our daughter (1.5 years) vomited all night and we got her fluid replacement in the end. On the day she was back to normal, except tired of lack of sleep of course. But the question is: will it be vomit-peeled next night too, or how will it work? Shouldn't she be sick during the day too if it is stomach upset?

  9. But how do you know there is a stop in your head? Have a child who vomited in kindergarten a lot once but now a few hours later she is as usual. Does it have to mean something dangerous? Have myself had stomach ailments with 1-2 vomiting and then nothing more, worried now after reading this!

    1. If the child is feeling as normal after some occasional vomiting, you can trust that they are completely healthy. Sorry to have worried you. At "stop in the head" you are basically vomited every day for several weeks, there are often any headaches with the whole thing, or newcomer clumsiness or maybe double vision. Then you should seek medical care for examination.

  10. Hello
    I want to say thank you for this post and urge everyone to take any symptoms that do not correspond to stomach disease seriously. Thanks to this post we realized that there was something wrong with our child's thirst which we thought was a fixed idea linked to the developmental crisis (he is soon two and only mum got water out of a specific mug). Random in the form of stomach ailments (the vomiting seems to have been due to this after all) made me read this and we checked the blood sugar. And it was type 1 diabetes (soaring sugar). Sad news to get, is currently in hospital, but a thousand times better now than later. Thank you for this blog and if you / you are writing anything about diabetes then feel free to ping here.

  11. It is a bit tricky to do that with stomach upset. I have noticed that I can walk around as a carrier, without it breaking out, a little stomach pain or feeling strange in my stomach when there is stomach sickness at work. Has only vomited a few times in connection with stomach ailment and usually becomes diarrhea. How common is it that you walk around with it without it breaking out? Thinking from the point of view of infection, it is impossible to know whether you have it or not.

    1. The more symptoms you have, the more you become infected. If you do not have diarrhea or vomiting then it is not so much virus you secrete, and you can not be home from work "for safety" unless you have symptoms ...

    1. You are most infected when you have clear symptoms, the tricky thing is that you do not know when you get symptoms during the incubation period ... Maybe you go to work during the "incubation period" and vomit there and infect people, then you have suddenly stopped their incubation time and infected during acute illness instead.

  12. Yes, that's what I was referring to. Have a son with just CAH and that is among the first I think of course. Cortisol deficiency! Unusual but important! Thanks for a great blog!

  13. Thanks for a superb blog!

    I wonder how much is infected before it has erupted? Say that I have taken care of my vomiting sick child, but have been careful with hand washing, hand rubbing, surface disinfection and that I do not think I have been exposed to the disease before the child became ill. Can I infect my colleagues?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Well. You probably don't get infected before it breaks out, but the risk is that it breaks out at work.

  14. Thanks for a superb blog!
    I wonder how much is infected before it has erupted? Say that I have taken care of my vomiting sick child but have been careful with hand washing, spritz and do not think they have been exposed to the infection until the child became ill. Is there a risk that I will infect my colleagues at work?

    1. I suppose you would like to point out that even acute cortisol deficiency causes vomiting. It's true. However, very unusual cause of vomiting in children. . But everyone who has a cortisol deficiency must know what to do in the event of vomiting (ie get into a hospital to get a cortisone injection and possibly drip).

      Newly discovered cortisol deficiency is among the most difficult to find in medicine. A cause of cortisol deficiency (CAH) is now included in the newborn screening (PKU test). For forms that debut later apply: seek medical attention for unexplained vomiting for a long time (may be an early symptom of cortisol deficiency) or, of course, in shock and severely affected general condition (may rarely be due to cortisol deficiency)

      Even more common is cortisol deficiency due to high dose or long-term cortisone medication. It may be worth remembering: if your child eats cortisone and vomits, you should come to the hospital for any extra cortisone syringe and drip.

  15. Hello,

    I wonder how long a stomach ailment gets. Should one avoid having their toddlers play with toddlers with diarrhea or is it what they say that after 10 days of diarrhea, all the bacilli are gone and that the diarrhea continues only because the bowel noise has become so badly needed?

    1. As long as there is diarrhea there is a risk of infection! (And longer than that sometimes). 48 hours after the last diarrhea you should stay away from others.

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