First-Aid02

Children:

Many babies have diarrhoea and vomiting 3 times a year. Most vomiting gets better within 3 days and diarrhoea within a week, but 2 weeks is possible. Medication is rarely of any benefit.

Give small amount of fluids often, even to a child who is vomiting. Avoid fruit juices and carbonated drinks. In severe cases an oral rehydration mixture is recommended that can be bought from Pharmacies.

If a child is hungry and willing to take feeds, continue them. Continue breast feeding. There is no need to starve the patient. A diet of bland carbohydrate such as rice and soups is a good start during recovery.

A child under 1 year and ill for more than 2 days should see a doctor. If there is a fever, see specific advice.

Signs of worsening illness to look out for are:

    • Decreased urine output or few or dry nappies
    • Dry mouth or tongue
    • Pale or cold skin
    • Blood in motions
    • Lethargy or unusual sleepiness

Adults:

Gastroenteritis in adults is rarely serious. Drink plenty of fluids, around 200ml after each loose stool. If you are vomiting, take small sips of fluid slowly. Resume a normal diet as soon as you feel well enough.

For diarrhoea, over the counter medication such as loperamide is useful.

Seek medical advice if:

    • There is blood in the stools
    • You have worsening abdominal pain
    • You develop a high fever
    • There is drowsiness or confusion
    • You have diarrhoea for more than a week
    • You have recently come back from abroad
    • You have recently been discharged from hospital
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