Gastro-enteritis in Children Advice

Cork Emergency Departments

What is gastroenteritis?

Gastroenteritis is an infection in the gut, which leads to diarrhoea and/or vomiting (sickness). Diarrhoea is frequent watery poo. The infection may also give your child a temperature and tummy pain. It is usually caused by a virus, which the body clears on it’s own without treatment. The diarrhoea and vomiting may lead to dehydration too much water lost from the body).

What do I do?

Your doctor has carefully looked for signs of dehydration and has not found any. They are therefore happy for you to take your child home. You must encourage your child to drink.

What is enough fluid?

What kind of drinks should I give?

You can give any drink that your child usually has including milk. However try not to give very concentrated or sugary drinks like real fruit juices or fizzy drinks unless they are well diluted with water (4 times as much water as drink).

What if my child is vomiting?

What about the diarrhoea?

Diarrhoea usually continues for 6-7 days. As long as your child is drinking and is improving in themselves this does not matter.

What about the temperature?

If your child has a temperature or appears to have tummy pains then give Paracetamol according to the instructions on the bottle.

What is Dioralyte / Diocaim junior/ Electrolade?

These are all names for salt and sugar solutions that are made up with water, to replace what is being lost. You will only be given these by your doctor if your child is dehydrated or at risk of becoming dehydrated.

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When should I ask for help or advice?

Seek advice if:   (you could call your Health Visitor or General Practitioner)

When can my child return to school or nursery?

When the diarrhoea has settled to 2 or 3 formed poos a day they are safe to return.

What about my baby’s sore bottom?

Frequent diarrhoea can make your baby’s bottom sore.

How can I stop it happening again?

If in doubt, please contact your GP or the Emergency Department (numbers below).

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If you are concerned, please contact the Emergency Department you first attended:

Mercy Injury Unit, Gurranabraher (021)4926900

LIU Mallow(022)58506

LIU Bantry(027)52900

Content by Dr Ahmed Khan, Dr Íomhar O' Sullivan 13/12/2005. Reviewed by Dr ÍOS 08/04/2007. Last review Dr ÍOS 17/06/21.