The 5 Most Common Sicknesses (and how to prevent them)

2) Stomach Flu

Also known as gastroenteritis, the stomach flu virus is the second most common tot ailment. “Gastrointestinal illness usually starts with fever and vomiting, then diarrhea,” says Rebecca R. Swan, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. “The vomiting usually lasts one to two days; diarrhea can last longer, sometimes up to 10 days.”

Many times, a stomachache isn’t the result of a contagious virus and may simply signal indigestion or constipation— which aren’t contagious—possibly caused by something your child ate or is worried about. (Constipation is common in “reluctant” toddlers in potty training!)

Stomach flu is usually more disruptive than dangerous. “Keep your child hydrated,” instructs Swan. “[Administer] small amounts of a fluid— a teaspoon every five minutes—or it will come back up.” Other tricks: a Pedialyte popsicle, slushy or ice chip. Once your child can begin eating solids again, you needn’t treat diarrhea with medicine, just be cautious about foods you serve. The BRAT diet—banana, rice, applesauce, toast—is tried and true, but after 24 hours make sure your child eats a wider variety of nutritious foods.