The main cause of diarrhoea in children is an infection of the gut called gastroenteritis, which is usually due to a viral infection, but it can be due to a bacterial infection, if you’ve been abroad.
The symptoms of gastroenteritis in children are explosive green poos and throwing up. Diarrhoea and vomiting can lead to dehydration, so you need to give clear fluids, perhaps some rehydration fluids.
You can carry on with your ordinary milk or breast milk, but avoid carbonated or sugary drinks. And probably avoid solid food until you’re sure that everything else is staying down. Antidiarrhoeal drugs should also be avoided and we don’t usually give antibiotics. This is your towel and this is Mummy’s towel.
You can help when your child has gastroenteritis by giving them their own towel, keeping them away from other children for a few days or keeping them off nursery and by very good hygiene.
You should seek medical advice if the vomiting doesn’t stop, if the tummy pain doesn’t go away, if there’s blood in the poo, if the hands and feet are quite cold. But be guided by your instincts. If you’re not happy, then get some help.
About video: GP Janice Allister discusses what you can do to deal with diarrhoea and vomiting.