Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines. Symptoms include low-grade fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. This condition is usually self-limiting and resolves within a few days. It is usually a viral illness, rarely bacterial or parasitic. It is generally not a serious illness.




1) Discontinue all solid foods and dairy products for 1-2 days.


2) Take only clear liquids to put the gut at rest. Sweet liquids like fruit juices, flat soft drinks, Jello, and Gatorade supply sugar for energy; take at least three 12 ounce servings daily. Salty liquids like broth and bouillon supply electrolytes that prevent dehydration; take at least three 8 ounce servings daily. Infants may be given Pedialyte. Small amounts taken frequently will lessen chances of vomiting.


3) After symptoms have abated for 24 hours, gradually advance your diet towards normal as tolerated. While advancing avoid alcohol, spicy or fatty foods, caffeine, and tobacco. Dairy products taken within one week of the resolution of your diarrhea may result in recurrent diarrhea.


4) Avoid anti-diarrheal medications unless prescribed by your doctor. If used inappropriately, anti-diarrhea medication may worsen the condition or slow recovery.


5) In children, limiting intake to one ounce per hour early in the course of the illness may diminish the frequency of vomiting. If no vomiting occurs, intake may be increased to one ounce every one-half hour and then more as tolerated.


6) In adults, anti-nausea medication may be prescribed. Do not exceed the recommended dosage. Generally these medications are not used in children.


7) If lethargy, dry mouth, very dark urine, low or decreasing urine output, weakness, high fever, behavioral changes, or greater than 10% of body weight loss occurs, severe dehydration may be present which requires a prompt visit to the office or emergency room.


Revised 8/08



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