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    First Aid & Emergencies

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    Gastroenteritis Treatment

    Call 911 if:

    • The person experiences signs of dehydration.
    • The person may have food poisoning from eating a canned food.

    Know the Signs of an Emergency:

    Signs of dehydration:

    • Little to no urination
    • Extreme thirst
    • Lack of tears
    • Dry mouth
    • Sunken eyes
    • Dizziness or lightheadedness
    • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
    • Lack of alertness
    • Blurred or double vision
    • Trouble swallowing or breathing
    • Muscle weakness

    Signs of food poisoning from eating a canned food:

    1. Prevent Dehydration

    • Give a child an oral rehydration solution. Call your health care provider for age-appropriate dosing specifics.
    • Give an adult as much clear fluid as possible.
    • The person should drink fluids slowly in frequent, small amounts. Drinking too much too fast can worsen nausea.

    2. When to Call a Doctor

    Seek medical help if:

    • Vomiting in an adult or a child age 2 or older lasts more than 1 day or a fever or severe diarrhea (large amounts of loose stool every 1 to 2 hours) lasts more than 2 days.
    • A child under age 2 has vomiting or diarrhea for more than 12 hours or has a fever with vomiting and diarrhea.
    • Vomit or diarrhea turns bloody or tarry.
    • The person has kidney, liver, or heart disease and must restrict fluid intake.
    • The person develops sudden, severe abdominal pain.
    • Dehydration symptoms develop.
    • Symptoms fail to resolve after a week.

    3. Follow Up

    • Gradually ease food back into the person's diet.
    • Start with bland, easy-to-digest food such as crackers, bananas, toast, rice, and chicken.
    • Avoid dairy, caffeine, and alcohol until recovery is complete.
    • If medical treatment is necessary, the person may receive fluids intravenously and anti-nausea medications.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on October 26, 2015

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