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Stomach bugs are common in kids–if your child is attending nursery school, going to daycare or simply hanging with friends at at a playdate, there's a good chance he'll eventually end up with the stomach flu. Here's what you need to know:
How to prevent stomach flu in children
"Children are prone to stomach flu because their immune systems are immature and they haven't developed antibodies from years of exposure to different germs," says pediatrician and author Dr. Jennifer Shu.
Stomach bugs are usually viral infections in the intestine that are passed by oro-fecal transmission, which is why good hand washing is the best way to avoid getting sick. You can easily pick up a stomach bug by sharing food or utensils.
"Children are usually contagious from a day or so before you even know they're sick up until a few days after their symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea, are completely gone," says Dr. Shu. With some stomach viruses, such as norovirus, children may still be contagious even two weeks after recovering from the illness. (Children are often contagious for a longer period than adults.)