How Long Can a Stomach Virus Linger?

Updated on May 27, 2012
R.P. asks from Denver, CO
5 answers

Two weeks ago my 9 year old son said he had a stomach ache, and he thought that he was hungry. He ate some crackers, had a few sips of ginger ale, and he seemed completely fine. However, an hour later, he made two back to back trips to the bathroom. He had more of a loose stool than actual diarrhea. He went once more that afternoon, twice the next morning, and did not go at all the next day. He never had a fever or lost his appetite or energy level. In the meantime, my husband started having really bad diarrhea, fever, chills, loss of appetite, etc. My husband went to the doctor, who thought it was viral, and said there was a very bad bug going around that has even put some patients in the hospital. The next morning my son said his stomach hurt again, and went to the bathroom three times in a row. His stool had quite a bit of mucus. We went to the pediatrician who also thought it was viral. I collected stool samples. They tested for c-diff (he had strep three times in March), salmonella, rotovirus, and some other viruses/bacteria. They didn't test for parasites but I don't think that's likely. Everything was negative. My son seems to be slowly improving. This past week most days he was back to his normal bathroom routine, although sometimes I saw mucus in the stool. This morning, however, he went to the bathroom four times. The pediatrician did not seem concerned when I called- he said mucus is not unusual during a stomach bug. Also, my son just started having really bad nasal allergies and he is taking Claritin for the first time. I wonder if the Claritin could have caused the frequent trips to the bathroom this morning since it is a new medication and he is not used to it. Also, could the ton of nasal congestion he has show up in the stool? I didn't ask the doctor these questions, but I think we will be back there next week if this continues. My son seems fine and has a huge appetite. He has never had any food allergies, but I suppose a referral for an allergist would also be a possible next step. Have any of your children had loose or frequent stools that lasted for a while at the end of a stomach bug?

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answers from Charlotte on

R., my son had stomach problems, and I mentioned it to the doctor at his physical this week. His stomach had been bothering him a month before. Our doctor tested him for strep, and the test came out positive. We have him on antibiotics to clear it up now.

If you haven't gotten a strep test done, get both a quick strep test AND a culture done (2 swabs). Strep doesn't always present as a bad sore throat and high fever.

Hope he feels better soon!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

it's prob the virus lingering on... we've had a BAD one around here for a few weeks - my stomach is still not right(loose stools, occassional actual diarrhea), and i started with vomiting for a few hours almost 2 weeks ago... sometimes it just takes a while. sounds like he's been checked out and is doing well otehr than the stools, i'd give it a little more time. hope he's feeling better soon. i really try to avoid the dr's office as much as possible, he may be picking it up all over again there!

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answers from Philadelphia on

My daughter just got over a 12 day stomach virus. It happens.



answers from Phoenix on

My son just got over a week long stomach virus. The doctor told me to make sure I gave him pro biotics. Culturelle was recommended to me. They make kids powder or chewables. It definitely helped with the diarrhea but he didn't eat more than a cracker at atime for a week.


answers from Norfolk on

Our pediatrician told us once a gut gets irritated, sometimes it stays irritated for a long time after the initial source of irritation has been resolved.
Our son had diarrhea for 8 weeks (was 9 months old at the time, the diaper rash that went with it was not fun at all).
The most important thing is to keep the fluids up.
Pedialyte and Gatorade are helpful since they help keep the electrolytes balanced, but soup is also great.
Stick with the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast) till things firm up a bit.
Be patient.
It will pass sooner or later but it can take some time.

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