Vomiting & Diarrhoea (Gastroenteritis)

Gastroenteritis is a very common condition that affects people of all ages but is particularly common among young children.  


What causes vomiting and diarrhoea in children?

Gastroenteritis is caused by a bacterial or viral infection in the tummy, and is commonly referred to as a tummy bug. Symptoms include vomiting and diarrhoea. Gastroenteritis can be very unpleasant for your child, but it usually clears up by itself within a week.


How can I ease their symptoms?

Our best advice is for you to help your child rest up and keep hydrated. You can look after them at home until they are feeling better. If you child is hungry, let them eat plain food such as toast, rice or pasta.

If they complain of a fever or aches and pains, give them paracetamol. Your local pharmacist can recommend the most appropriate medication for your child. If you think your child is dehydrated, use special rehydration drinks made from sachets you can buy at your local pharmacy.

However, if the symptoms don’t improve or you feel your child may be at risk of a more serious condition it is important you contact us and make an appointment to see your Doctor.

Unless advised by your GP, do not give your child antidiarrhoeal and anti-vomiting medication.


Bring your child to the surgery if they are experiencing any of the following:

  • Symptoms of dehydration, such as passing less urine than normal, being unusually irritable or unresponsive, pale or mottled skin, or cold hands and feet.

  • Blood in their poo or green vomit.

  • Vomiting constantly and are unable to keep down any fluids or feeds.

  • Diarrhoea for more than a week.

  • Vomiting for three days or more.

  • Signs of a more serious illness, such as a high fever (over 38C or 100.4F), shortness of breath, rapid breathing, a stiff neck, a rash that doesn't fade when you roll a glass over it or a bulging fontanelle (the soft spot on a baby's head).

  • A serious underlying condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease or a weak immune system, and have diarrhoea and vomiting.

In some instances, we may suggest sending a sample of your child's poo to a laboratory to confirm what's causing their symptoms. Antibiotics may be prescribed if this shows they have a bacterial infection.

Briarhill Family Practice are here to help you to understand and manage your child’s health. We are happy to discuss any worries or questions you may have. 

Please contact reception for more information or to book your appointment.


Useful Links

NHS Living Well - Vomiting & Diarrhoea (Gastroenteritis)


Content developed from HSE and NHS Choices  
is adapted for Briarhill Family Practice by Briarhill Family Practice.

Paul Cotter

Bad Dog, 16 Seapoint, Barna, Galway