Vomiting and Diarrhea

Vomiting and diarrhea are usually caused by viruses that infect the intestines but are sometimes caused by bacteria. They usually last about a day or two but can last up to a week.

Signs and symptoms

  • Frequent and uncontrollable loose, watery stools
  • Vomiting
  • Belly pain, cramps
  • Fever

Treatment for Vomiting

Under 6 months of age: Call the office

6 months & older: If your child is vomiting DO NOT give anything by mouth for 4 hours. Your child’s stomach needs time to heal. If 4 hours have passed without an episode, give your child baby sips of a clear fluid with electrolytes such as Pedialyte or Gatorade (low sugar such as G-2). Stick with these clear fluids for 4 hours. If this agrees with their stomach, introduce food very slowly offering a bland diet: Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, Crackers, and Clear broth (chicken noodle soup).

If at any time during the introduction of food they start vomiting again, start over with nothing by mouth for 4 hours.

Treatment for Diarrhea

Under 6 months of age: Call the office

6 months & older: Switch child to a high protein diet: scrambled eggs, peanut butter, chicken, and beef. Eliminate carbohydrates: fruit, bread, sugar and vegetables.

Change to a lactose-free formula until the diarrhea stops.

Call the office right away if:

  • Fever is over 102* for vomiting
  • Fever is over 101* for diarrhea
  • Vomiting lasts longer than 24hrs
  • Diarrhea lasts longer than 3 days
  • Accompanied by severe constant abdominal pain
  • Stomach is tender to the touch
  • Blood or mucus is present in the vomit or diarrhea
  • Signs of dehydration:
    • No tears
    • Dry diaper or no urination for 6 hours
    • Dry mouth, skin, or lips
    • Sunken eyes
    • Not as alert as usual
    • Sunken soft spot on head (for infants)

Children should not be given medicine for diarrhea such as Pepto Bismal or Lomotil unless your child’s doctor tells you it’s OK as the patient’s body is doing what it naturally should do to get rid of the cause of the diarrhea.

Most cases of mild dehydration can be treated by giving your child fluids. However, if dehydration is severe, your child may need to be given fluids through an IV (a tube inserted into a vein). To lower the chance of dehydration, call your child’s doctor early if your child has vomiting or diarrhea that won’t go away.

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