Vomiting and diarrhea (symptoms of gastroenteritis) may be caused by a virus or bacteria. Food poisoning also can cause these symptoms. Viral illnesses usually run their course without medical treatment while food poisoning, if severe, may require medical attention.
Other symptoms associated with vomiting and diarrhea include:
- Stomach cramps and nausea.
- Headache, tiredness and muscle aches.
Effective ways to respond include
- Getting rest and restricting activities until symptoms subside.
- Drinking plenty of clear liquids, including ginger ale, cola, water, tea, broth and gelatin, for the first 24 hours or until symptoms subside.
- Eating bland foods such as crackers, rice, soup, bread, pasta, eggs, baked potatoes, applesauce or cooked cereals (for one day).
- Avoiding fruits, vegetables, fried or spicy foods, candy, dairy products and alcoholic beverages for two to three days.
- Drinking 8 to 12 glasses of liquids per day until you feel better (to avoid dehydration).
- Taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever and muscle aches. (Do not give aspirin to anyone under age 19.)
Seek emergency care if:
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea continue for more than 24 hours (12 hours in an infant) to avoid the danger of dehydration.
- There is severe stomach or rectum pain.
- There is a high fever.
- Blood, mucus or worms are found in the stool.
- Signs of water loss, such as dry mouth, excessive thirst, crinkled skin, little to no urination, or dizziness or lightheadedness are experienced.
If repeat vomiting follows a head injury, seek emergency care.