Vomiting and diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea (defined as watery stool, increased frequency of stool, or both) are most often caused by stomach bugs. Sometimes, the child can also have belly pain and fever. Most stomach bugs last only a few days and go away on their own. It is important to make sure your child keeps drinking water, juice, Pedialyte, or any other fluid they will tolerate (including popsicles). Usually a stomach bug can be treated at home. You should seek care if your child has any of the following:

  • Persistent vomiting
  • Severe belly pain
  • High fever lasting several days
  • Bloody diarrhea or vomit
  • Lethargy, decreased wet diapers, or other signs of significant dehydration
  • Any other concerning symptoms

Common questions

vomiting and diarrhea

Why do children get diarrhea more often than adults, and what are the common causes?

Children are more prone to diarrhea because they are often exposed to germs and have less developed immune systems. Viruses are the most frequent cause of diarrhea in children.

How long does diarrhea usually last in children, and when should I be concerned?

Diarrhea in children typically lasts a few days to a week. However, if it persists beyond two weeks, or if your child shows signs of severe dehydration, bloody stool, persistent vomiting, mucus in stool, or a high fever, it's important to consult a doctor.

Can a stomach bug be treated at home, and what should I do?

Yes, usually a stomach bug can be treated at home. Ensure your child gets plenty of rest and stays hydrated. Monitor their symptoms closely and provide a comfortable environment for recovery.

How can I ensure my child stays hydrated if they have a stomach bug?

It's crucial to keep your child hydrated, it helps them in their recovery. For infants and young children, offer additional breast milk or an oral rehydration solution (ORS). Water alone may not be sufficient as it doesn't contain enough sodium, potassium, or any other nutrients. Older children can drink ORS, brand-name hydration solutions like pedialyte, or popsicles, especially if they've been vomiting and need to rehydrate slowly.

What are the signs of dehydration in children with diarrhea, and how can I prevent it?

Signs of dehydration include dizziness, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, few or no tears when crying, cool dry skin, and lack of energy. To prevent dehydration, ensure your child drinks enough fluids. Severe dehydration is a medical emergency, so if you notice these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.

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