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Baby and Child First Aid

Questions and answers about first aid for babies and children: vomiting and diarrhoea

Here are some questions people often ask. If you have a question that isn’t answered here, please feel free to email us at firstaid@redcross.org.uk or use this form.

Q

What causes vomiting and diarrhoea?

Answer
Answer

It is usually caused by contaminated food and drink, or it may be caused by a virus which can be passed from person to person.

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Q

Is the treatment of vomiting and diarrhoea the same for a baby as for a child?

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Answer

If a baby has vomiting and diarrhoea it is more important to seek medical advice because they are at greater risk of becoming de-hydrated. Very young babies aged 0-3 months are particularly at risk. Ensure you offer breast milk to affected babies more frequently than usual, and seek medical advice.

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Q

Why do I have to give my baby or child boiled water that has been cooled?

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Answer

Giving the baby or child water will help replace the fluids that have been lost through vomiting and diarrhoea. This will help prevent them from becoming dehydrated. The water needs to be boiled to remove any impurities and then cooled so the child can drink it.

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Q

Can I give my baby or child milk to drink?

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Answer

Only give them milk to drink if the baby or child is being breast fed.

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Q

What can I do to prevent the diarrhoea and vomiting from spreading to me or my other children?

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Answer

If the vomiting and diarrhoea has been caused by a virus, good standards of hygiene are important to reduce the risk of it spreading to other people. Wipe any surfaces the infected child or baby has touched with disinfectant, wash your hands frequently and don’t share any towels.

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Q

Once the vomiting and diarrhoea has finished, what can I give my baby or child to eat?

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You can give them small amounts of bland food to eat after the vomiting and diarrhoea has finished.

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