Diarrhea, Vomiting and Gastroenteritis

Viruses generally cause gastroenteritis (“stomach bug”). Diarrhea is very loose or watery stools and is often associated with increased frequency of stool. Gastroenteritis can also be associated with vomiting, cold symptoms, fever, cramps, gas, abdominal pain and rash. Supportive care is the most commonly recommended treatment for gastroenteritis.  The main objective is to prevent dehydration and let time take its course. We do NOT recommend anti-diarrheal medications.  Diarrhea may persist for 7-10 days.

What to do when your child has vomiting and diarrhea:

  • Wait 30 minutes after vomiting to allow the stomach to settle then offer small amounts of liquid frequently.  Start with 5mL or 1 teaspoon every 10-15 minutes as tolerated.  You may slowly increase the volume as tolerated.   The goal is for your child to urinate at minimum once every 8 hours (4-6 hours for infants under age 6 months).  Fluid recommendations:
    • Infants – Pedialyte, breastmilk or formula if tolerated
    • Children – Pedialyte, water, diluted juice, Gatorade, popsicles
  • When fluids are tolerated, advance to a bland diet that includes bananas, rice, toast, crackers, applesauce, etc. It is generally best to avoid complex or fatty foods and dairy products at first.
  • Control fever with Tylenol or Motrin/Advil.
  • Monitor urine output (frequency of voiding).

Call the office if:

  • Your child has decreased urine output as follows:
    • Birth to 4 months – no urine in 4-6 hours
    • 6-12 months – no urine in 6-8 hours
    • over 12 months – no urine in 8-10 hours
  • You find blood in stool.
  • Your child is lethargic or inconsolable.
  • Your child has severe abdominal pain.
  • Your child is vomiting bile – a bright yellow/green color.
  • Your infant has persistent projectile vomiting.