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Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Diarrhoea and vomiting will affect most people from time to time. Whilst it is not pleasant the symptoms normally pass within a few days. Diarrhoea and vomiting can occur separately or together, but there is often very little a Doctor can do for these symptoms.

What causes diarrhoea?

There are many everyday causes for diarrhoea.  Simple precautions such as regular handwashing throughout the day can help prevent the spread of infection.

What causes vomiting?

Like diarrhoea, there are many everyday causes for vomiting ranging from cold and flu to excessive alcohol intake. It can also be caused by a bacterial infection.

How can I stop diarrhoea and vomiting spreading?

There are many simple steps you can take to help prevent the spread of diarrhoea and vomiting. These include regular handwashing, not sharing towels and staying away from school or work until your symptoms have stopped for 48 hours.

Are there any potential complications?

Diarrhoea and vomiting are usually self resolving however it is important to make sure you remain hydrated.

Some of the early signs of dehydration are:

  • feeling thirsty or having a dry mouth
  • lightheadedness
  • having dark or strong smelling urine
  • passing urine less often.

Treatments for Diarrhoea and Vomiting

Unfortunately there is little a doctor can do to help get rid of diarrhoea or vomiting but drinking plenty of fluids, including sugary drinks, will make you feel a lot better. To start with you need to drink small sips frequently and then build up from there.

When do I need to seek advice?

If your symptoms are persisting for more than a few days or you are experiencing other symptoms such as a high temperature, severe abdominal pains, blood in you stool or vomit, then you need to see your GP. You need to be more cautious in the very young and the elderly, as well as pregnant women.

Comment from GP/Clinical Practitioner

Key Points

  • Diarrhoea and vomiting usually passes within a few days.
  • Try to keep hydrated, taking sips of fluids.
  • If your symptoms persist or you develop a high temperature or blood in your stool or vomit, you need to see your GP.
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