Parent Information

Vomiting/ Diarrhea


  • Nothing by mouth for 30-60 minutes
  • Small frequent feedings of clear fluids (Pedialyte up to age 2; Gatorade after age 2) preferred for 12-24 hours.  If these are refused, flattened soda is acceptable.  DO NOT GIVE PLAIN WATER.  If small sips of fluids are not staying down or are refused, try teaspoons or medicine droppers of the fluids every 5-10 minutes.
  • If unable to keep fluids down, try Cola syrup or Emetrol, 1/2-1 teaspoon every 15 minutes until 1 dose stays down, with a maximum of 6 doses. Do not use under 6 months of age.  Cola syrup and Emetrol are used as a coating for the stomach that may alleviate vomiting; they are not fluids to hydrate your child.  Once a single dose stays down, discontinue the Cola syrup and proceed back to clear fluids.
  • When small frequent feeding of clear fluids stay down for 2 or more hours, you may try larger amounts of fluids.
  • When your child has not vomited for 12 hours and appears better, you may try half-strength formula in infants and solid food in older children.  You should avoid giving Pedialyte alone for more than 24 hours.  If half-strength milk-based formula causes more vomiting, or diarrhea begins, you may try half-strength soy formula instead.
  • When ready to reintroduce solid foods, start with ripe bananas, applesauce, jello, clear broth, dry toast, dry crackers, baked potato, and rice.
  • Avoid milk products.
  • If vomiting recurs, do not give anything for 30-60 minutes and then restart clear fluids as above.


For diarrhea, unlike vomiting, food (nutrition) is critical to heal the bowel and hasten recovery.

Foods to avoid:  milk products, fruit juices, high fiber foods
Foods to encourage:  rice, bananas, applesauce, jello, rice cereal, barley, dry toast, dry crackers, clear soup, baked potatoes.

Infants may be temporarily placed on a soy formula.

Occasionally, in cases of severe diarrhea, stool may not return to completely normal for several weeks.  As long as the diarrhea slowly improves, your child is well appearing and has no fever, and there is no blood in the stool, there is no cause for alarm.  Any baby under 6 months with prolonged diarrhea should be seen.

Call us if:

  • Your child is unable to keep any fluids down for several hours.
  • Your child is having severe abdominal pain.
  • Your child has blood and mucus in the stools.
  • Your child has has a high fever.
  • Your child's symptoms are prolonged.

Careful hand washing with soap and water after changing diapers or cleaning up vomitus or diarrhea is key in helping prevent the spread of gastroenteritis through your family.

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