As Surgeon in Chief as well as Chief of Pediatric Surgery at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, New York, Dr. Gustavo Stringel treats a number of common childhood conditions. One illness that causes many parents to seek care for their children is gastroenteritis.

According to Dr. Gustavo Stringel, while gastroenteritis is commonly referred to as stomach flu, it isn’t a form of influenza. Instead, the condition arises as the result of an inflammation and irritation of the gastrointestinal tract. Children with this condition may present with abdominal pain and cramping, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.

No single cause exists for gastroenteritis. Rather, it can arise from viral, parasitical, or bacterial infection. In the case of bacterial infection, the condition may come from either infectious or food-borne types of bacteria.

One of the primary dangers of gastroenteritis, especially in children, is dehydration, brought about by prolonged nausea and vomiting. Parents should frequently offer small amounts of clear liquids to replenish lost fluids. Parents concerned about dehydration should seek advice from their doctor. Likewise, if the child is vomiting blood or expressing black or bloody stool, seek emergency medical care immediately.

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