Gastroenteritis (gastro) is a bowel infection that causes inflammation of the stomach and intestines. It leads to diarrhoea and sometimes vomiting. The vomiting may stop quickly, but the diarrhoea can last for up to 10 days. Gastroenteritis can be caused by many different germs, although the most common cause is a viral or bacterial infection.
If your child has gastroenteritis, they may experience the following symptoms:
· vomiting in the first 24 to 48 hours
· no appetite
· stomach pains
Most children with gastroenteritis can be treated at home with the main treatment being lots of fluids. Babies under 6 months should always be seen by a doctor if they have gastro. Children should not return to school until 48 hours of the last episode of diarrhoea or vomiting.
To prevent gastroenteritis, it’s important that to wash your hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing nappies and before handling food.