Little Kids

Ask Dr. Dina: When your kid has the stomach flu, how long should you wait before giving them food or drink?

If the stomach bug is making the rounds again, here’s what to do.

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My kid has the stomach bug and can’t keep anything down. How long should I wait before trying to give her food or drink?

Fluids are your best friend when your child is vomiting. The rule of thumb is to provide small amounts of fluid frequently. As little as one to two tablespoons every hour can maintain hydration. Don’t force your kid to eat solid food, but do be sure to provide lots of fluids that have some salt and sugar content—water is not enough. Electrolyte solutions, juice or products like Gatorade can do a good job of this. Always see your doctor if your child is lethargic, has severe abdominal pain, is not drinking at all, has a dry mouth or isn’t peeing—he might be dehydrated. If the vomiting persists beyond two days, visit your doctor to check for other causes besides stomach flu.

Dina Kulik is a paediatrician and emergency room doctor in Toronto and mom to three boys, who are five, three and 17 months. Send her your kids’ health questions at

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