The most common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea is an infection in the gut called gastroenteritis, or ‘gastro’ for short. Vomiting and diarrhoea happens when the body tries to flush out the bug causing the infection. Vomiting may last for 4-6 hours and loose, watery bowel motions (diarrhoea) can go on for three or more days. Rumbling in the gut and tummy pains or cramps may also occur. It is very important to prevent or treat dehydration caused by losing fluid. Warning Signs of Dehydration
- More than 8 runny bowel motions in 24 hours.
- Vomiting (can’t keep anything down).
- Going for 10 hours or more without passing urine.
- When the skin is pinched it stays up for a second or two.
- Sleepy or floppy, but cranky child.
- Sunken eyes or shadows under the eyes
- Soft spot in top of baby’s head is sunken more than usual
- Changed breathing – either quick or slow and deep
- Very dry mouth, tongue and lips or no tears.
Preventing Gastroenteritis Gastro bugs can get into food (especially milk) from unwashed hands, kitchen surfaces and eating utensils. They also grow in food kept warm. Insist on everyone washing their hands after going to the toilet, after handling animals and before touching food.