My 8-year-old son has been sick and vomiting for two days. The doctor said that he'd be fine, that he probably just has a stomach virus. I'm still worried. How long can this stomach virus last?
A stomach virus or stomach flu is a common problem. The length of symptoms depends on a few different factors. If you are worried, I would recommend taking your son to his pediatrician.
In general, a stomach virus lasts about 7-10 days. This is for the classic virus infection--or as its medically known a viral gastroenteritis or viral gastritis. We normally except the course to be a sudden onset of symptoms, with a peak of symptoms at 2-3 days. Normally, the symptoms improve however may persist until 7-10 days out. If things are not improving by day 4-5 and not nearly all resolved by two weeks out I would recommend talking to his pediatrician.
There are a few factors that can prolong a stomach virus. This first is if there is a different diagnosis. Many other problem of the stomach can occur. If there is significant fevers or abdominal pain, this may indicate another diagnosis and suggest that more workup is needed. If there is a problem with the immune system, this can also prolong symptoms. Any other underlying gastrointestinal problem can also predispose to a longer course.
The main treatment for a viral gastritis is supportive--staying hydrated is key. If symptoms are not improving after 4-5 days and not resolved by 2 weeks I would recommend speaking to your doctor.
This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.
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