Diarrhoea and Vomitinglogo

Children
Many babies have diarrhoea and vomiting 3 times a year. Most vomiting gets better within 3 days and diarrhoea within a week, but 2 weeks is possible. Medication is rarely of any benefit. Give small amount of fluids often, even to a child who is vomiting. Avoid fruit juices and carbonated drinks. In severe cases an oral rehydration mixture is recommended that can be bought from Pharmacies. If a child is hungry and willing to take feeds, continue them. Continue breast feeding. There is no need to starve the patient. A diet of bland carbohydrate such as rice and soups is a good start during recovery. A child under 1 year ill for more than 2 days should see a doctor. If there is a fever, see specific advice. Signs of worsening illness to look out for are:

  • Decreased urine output or few or dry nappies
  • Dry mouth or tongue
  • Pale or cold skin
  • Blood in motions
  • Lethargy or unusual sleepiness

Adults
Gastroenteritis in adults is rarely serious. Drink plenty of fluids, say 200ml after each loose stool. If you are vomiting, take small sips of fluid slowly. Resume a normal diet as soon as you feel well enough. For diarrhoea, over the counter medication such as loperamide is useful. Seek medical advice if:

  • There is blood in the stools
  • You have worsening abdominal pain
  • You develop a high fever
  • There is drowsiness or confusion
  •  You have diarrhoea for more than a week
  •  You have recently come back from abroad
  •  You have recently been discharged from hospital

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