Diarrhoea and vomiting in children is very common and usually short-lived. It is usually caused by infection in the stomach and/or bowel. If the attack is in the stomach then vomiting occurs. If it is lower in the bowel the main problem is diarrhoea with loose, watery stools. Doctors will usually collect a stool sample, to try to discover which germ has caused the infection but it usually takes a few days for the result to come back. The younger the child the more important it is to have an assessment made by a health professional to ensure that your child is not dehydrated. With simple uncomplicated diarrhoea and vomiting (eg caused by common gastroenteritis viruses) the hydration status is probably the most important factor. If there are other features (eg bloody diarrhoea) then it is important that your child is reviewed by a health care professional who is used to dealing with childhood disease.
If you have found this article useful please consider making a donation to the children’s e-hospital. This will allow us to continue to operate & no donation is too small. To donate please click on the link at the top of the page, thank you.
Diarrhoea and vomiting may be accompanied by low grade fever and stomach cramps. If bloody diarrhoea is present you should contact a health care professional.
With most common gastroenteritis virus infections the treatment is largely supportive to ensure adeqaute hydration and control of fever and abdominal pain with paracetamol. If symptoms are escalating it is important to seek medical advice.
Keep away from contacts for 48 hours after symptoms abate