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By Casey De Farria
Casey De Farria
15 Jun, 2021

Gastro – the facts

Gastroenteritis (gastro) is a very common illness in infants and children. It is usually caused by viruses that infect the bowel and tends to be more prevalent in the colder months.

Typically, gastro begins with vomiting. Children then develop diarrhoea. Vomiting usually settles quickly within 1 day, but it may take 7-10 days for the poos to become normal.

Viral gastro can be easily spread from person to person. It is very important to keep children with gastro away from others – they should not go to day-care, kindergarten or school until their vomiting and diarrhoea have stopped.

Frequent hand-washing with soap and water is the best defence against the spread of gastro.

It is vital to replenish lost fluids to avoid dehydration. Oral Rehydration Fluids (available from chemist) are specially formulated to replace lost fluid. Oral rehydration solutions are specially designed to replace sugars and salts lost during an episode of gastroenteritis – always follow the instructions and use correctly.

It can be difficult to know when your little one with gastro, may need medical attention. Always seek help if you are concerned, and particularly if;

Please consult your doctor or local hospital, as soon as possible, if you have any concerns about your child’s progress – especially if:

  • your child is less than six months old 
  • your child has other health problems
  • you are unable to get your child to take the right amount of fluids
  • your child keeps vomiting
  • your child is very tired or drowsy
  • there is blood or mucus in your child’s poo
  • there is green vomit
  • your child has ongoing tummy pain
  • your child has high fevers
  • if your child has unexpected symptoms (eg: pain when passing urine, headache etc)
  • or if your child does not seem to be getting better and/or you are worried for any other reason.

Reference

https://www.schn.health.nsw.gov.au/fact-sheets/gastroenteritis

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