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BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Most parents would agree that the distress that comes with dealing with one’s own stomach bug pales in comparison to taking care of a small child who’s caught the illness.

According to a recent news release from Our Lady of the Lake (OLOL), one of the most important things a parent can do when their little one is dealing with a stomach virus is make sure the child stays hydrated. 

Gastroenteritis often causes vomiting and/or diarrhea and is usually caused by either a virus, bacteria, or parasites. 

Physicians with OLOL say dehydration can occur all too quickly in young children with the illness, but the following tips may help to reduce the chance of dehydration:   

-If your child is vomiting, give them an electrolyte solution in small volumes frequently until urine output improves. Pedialyte® is recommended because it’s designed to safely replace fluids and minerals, such as sodium and potassium.

-While it’s a good idea to avoid cow’s milk, juice, and soft drinks, doctors say breastfed babies can continue to nurse. 

-When your child is vomiting, doctors say to only offer them a small amount of fluid at a time, perhaps only an ounce or two. Parents will have to watch their children when it comes to this because sometimes kids will be so thirsty they’ll drink more than their stomachs can handle. 

-It’s important to remember that electrolyte hydration drinks often expire within 24 hours of first opening the container. 

-Doctors say that if an infant is on breast milk or formula and is not drinking, alternate one ounce of a hydration drink with one ounce of breast milk or formula. If this seems to work, then parents can return to just breast milk or formula for feedings supplemented by the electrolyte drinks to keep them hydrated.

OLOL recommends calling a physician when the child is affected by the following symptoms:

-They can’t keep anything down 

-They experience repeated diarrhea

-They go more than six hours without urinating

-The child has a high fever or very bad pain of any kind 

In addition to this, doctors say that children with ongoing health conditions should see a physician when they have a stomach bug.

Click here for additional information related to symptoms and treatment.