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Diarrhoea and Vomiting

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Fever, diarrhoea and vomiting indicate a gastrointestinal infection. Give the child plenty of fluid with salt, sugar and lactic acid bacteria. If the child is drowsy and do not want to drink you must call the doctor immediately.

Diarrhoea means much and thin faeces. Vomiting and diarrhoea are often due to a gastrointestinal infection with a virus or bacteria. In connection with vomiting and diarrhoea, there is also a recurrence of pain in the stomach and fever around 38 – 39oC.

In most cases, you will get better in a couple of days and it disappears after 5 – 6 days. Severe gastrointestinal infections with e.g. the bacteria salmonella appears with frequent, bloody thin faeces, high temperature and the child is affected (lies quietly in bed and will not hear story or play).

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Contamination is often due to gastrointestinal infections where the virus or bacteria are in the faeces. The contagion can spread from the faeces to the hands and hereafter the mouth, toys or food.

Parents should always wash their hands after contact with the child in order to avoid spreading the contagion to him or herself or the family. The child’s hands should also be washed.

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The child should stay at home until the faeces and temperature are normal, and the child can participate in the usual activities without special care.


A child with diarrhoea and/or vomiting needs fluid and salt. Give the child plenty of fluid. You can find a product containing a combination of sugar, salt and lactic acid bacteria that strengthens the healthy and natural bacteria flora in the intestine. The lactic acid bacteria shortens the period with thin faeces. You can buy the product at the pharmacy.

What can you do?

What can you do?

Give the child plenty of fluid e.g. water mixed with juice, camomile tea with sugar or sweet squash. It does not matter that much if the child does not eat as long as the child gets plenty of fluid. Avoid food that is rich in fibre whilst the faeces is thin – it only irritates the intestine, so the diarrhoea continues. In addition, the child can eat what it fancies.

There is no reason to treat with antibiotics or medication that stops the faeces – it will only make the situation worse.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If the diarrhoea lasts for more than 48 hours and the child refuses to drink. If there has been over 10 times of vomiting and diarrhoea during the last day and the child is under 2 years old. If there is blood in the faeces.

Contact the doctor immediately

If the child has ongoing stomach ache. If the child (lies quietly in bed and will not hear story or play), does not drink or pee, or reacts with irritation against light and sound.