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What Causes It?

Diarrhoea is often caused by viral infections(gastroenteritis) or by eating food that has been contaminated by germs (food poisoning). You may also experience vomiting, stomach cramps, raised temperature and weakness as you lose important body fluids and salts.

Most cases settle spontaneously over 2-5 days even without medication.

Diarrhoea and vomiting in young children needs careful attention.

What To Do

Infants Less Than 1 Year Old

  • Give oral rehydration fluids (dioralyte or rehidrat) for the first 24 hours.
  • In breast-fed infants apart from rehydration fluids, feed every two hours.
  • When diarrhoea subsides, introduce, in weaned infants, solids along with half-strength milk.
  • Finally re-introduce full strength milk.
  • Give paracetamol for fever.

Infants More Than 1 Year Old

  • Clear liquids first 24 hours (flat lemonade, water or very dilute juice)
  • Then progress to clear soups, dry toast, crackers, potatoes, bananas, white rice.
  • Avoid dairy products, citrus juices or spicy foods for a few days after diarrhoea subsides.
  • Give paracetamol for a fever.


  • As above in children over 1 years old.
  • After 24 hours of symptoms, you may try anti-diarrhoeal medications (eg. Imodium, Diarreze, Arret etc.) Follow instructions on the label.

Contact Your Doctor If

  • Baby/child unwell especially if drowsy, not taking fluids or vomiting repeatedly.
  • High fever unresponsive to paracetamol, tepid sponging, stripping clothes.
  • Severe abdominal pain.
  • Blood, pus or mucus in the stools.
  • Sunken eyes, loose dry skin, excessive thirst and dry mouth or significant decrease in passing urine (especially few damp nappies in child).
  • Diarrhoea more than 7 days.
  • No improvement despite self-help treatment.