Medications are usually not needed to stop vomiting or diarrhoea. However, they may be administered in a hospital care setting. Certain medications for adults are dangerous for children.
Your child does not need antibiotics for most illnesses that are caused by viruses. Antibiotics do not kill viruses. Most of the bacterial infections do not need antibiotics unless the child is very sick (invasive bacterial infections).
Oral Rehydration Therapy
Oral rehydration therapy is a simple way to help your child when he or she vomits or has diarrhoea. This therapy has two simple steps:
Step 1: Give your child oral electrolyte solution
An oral electrolyte solution is a liquid that has exactly the right amount of water, sugar and salts. You can buy this solution in most pharmacies in different forms.
Warning: You must mix the powders exactly according to instructions. For the first 6 hours, make sure your child gets at least the amount of solution prescribed below for his or her age.
- Less than 6 months old
Give 60mL to 90 mL (12 to 18 teaspoons) per hour
- 6 months to 2 years old
Give 90mL to 125mL (18 to 25 teaspoons) per hour
- 2 years old or older
Give 125mL to 250mL (4 to 8 ounces) every hour
Do not stop breastfeeding. Feed your child for a shorter time and more frequently. Breast milk is the best liquid for your child.
If your child is vomiting, give frequent sips of liquid. Give your child 5mL of liquid (1 teaspoon) every 1 to 5 minutes.
When your child starts to feel better, you can give larger volumes but less often. Make sure that your child drinks the amount of liquid he or she needs for his or her age.
After 24 hours, give your child the oral electrolyte solution only after each watery diarrhoea.
Step 2: Feed your child healthy food
Feeding your child a healthy diet will help your child's fight against infection. It will also help to heal his or her digestive system and prevent weight loss.
Stop giving your child solid food for 6 to 12 hours only if he or she is vomiting.
If your child has diarrhoea, do not stop feeding your child. Give your child small amounts of food that he or she likes every 3 to 4 hours.
Here is a list of appropriate and inappropriate food for your child:
- Appropriate foods
- Breast milk, regular milk or formula milk (for infants who have not been weaned); do not further dilate the milk
- Starchy food such as rice, potatoes, noodles, toast and crackers
- Cereal such as rice or wheat cereal and oatmeal
- Protein such as boiled or baked meat, fish, chicken, soy products and eggs
- Vegetables with no added butter
- Fruits not packed in syrup
- Inappropriate foods
- Fruit juice or soft drinks
- Ice cream
- Fatty food such as french fries, hamburgers and butter
- Spicy food