Prevention is the best option


Consells de salut per tenir cura de nens amb gastroenteritis a Vall d'Hebron

Gastroenteritis is an infection that causes diarrhoea, an increase in loose stools. It is normally accompanied by vomiting, fever and stomach ache. 


Drinking is essential to avoid dehydration

Every time the child passes diarrhoea or vomits they lose fluids and they need to replace them orally (by drinking). To achieve this, electrolyte solutions can be used. 

If the child is vomiting, they will need to drink the solution bit by bit (one teaspoon every 5 minutes). If they are not vomiting, increase the amount gradually. 

When they are not vomiting, offer them small amounts of food. Never force them to eat and make sure they drink plenty of fluids between meals.


How to prepare fluid solutions to treat diarrhoea

Low sodium oral electrolyte solution

  • Dissolve the contents of the sachet in 1 litre of water (it does not need to be bottled water)
  • Drink at room temperature and do not drink if it has been prepared for more than 24 hours. If they need more, make up some more.


Oral rehydration salts (ORS)

  • Dissolve the contents of the sachet in 250 ml of tepid water and stir until dissolved.
  • It can only be taken for 24 hours. If they need more, make up some more.


Rice water

  • Add a small cup of rice to a litre of boiling water. Boil for approximately half an hour.
  • Take off the heat, sieve the rice and, once cooled, put the water in the fridge.
  • It can only be taken for 24 hours. If they need more, make up some more.


Homemade oral rehydration solution

    • Add a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of sugar to 250 ml of water and stir until it dissolves.
    • You can add a few drops of lemon juice
    • It can only be taken for 24 hours. If they need more, make up some more.



The child should not be fasting. Offer them food without forcing them to eat. Infants with gastroenteritis normally lose some of their appetite. If they are breastfeeding, the number of feeds should be increased. Milk bottles should continue to be given in the normal doses, they should not be diluted. 

A dry diet is not necessary, soft foods can be eaten if preferred. The foods that tend to be tolerated better are cereals (rice and wheat), potatoes, bread, lean meat, vegetables, fish, yoghurt and fruit. Avoid foods that are difficult to digest, with lots of fat and sugar.


Go to A&E

  • If they vomit a lot and do not tolerate solid foods or liquids, or if they vomit despite not having eaten or drunk anything.
  • If the vomit is green, bloody or looks like coffee
  • If they are sleepy, excessively depressed, very thirsty, cry with no tears, pass little urine, have sunken eyes or are hard to wake up.
  • If stools are very watery, abundant and frequent, meaning that the child is unable to recover the fluids lost
  • If they have a high fever that does not go down with the usual antipyretics
  • If they are younger than 3 months and have vomited two or more times after feeding
  • If vomit is accompanied by a lot of abdominal pain and a headache


Further recommendations

To recover lost fluids, do not use homemade solutions or commercial drinks. Solutions prepared specifically for rehydration are recommended.

Do not administer medications for vomiting or diarrhoea without consulting a paediatrician.

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