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When to See Your Doctor

Most cases of gastroenteritis go away on their own. See the doctor if the vomiting and diarrhea continues more than a few days, or if you notice any signs of dehydration like:

  • Not urinating
  • Dry mouth
  • Crying without tears
  • Fever over 102 F
  • Lack of energy
  • Crankiness
  • Soft spot on the top of the baby's head is sunken.
  • Blood or pus in stool, or dark tarry stool

Your child may need to get checked sooner if they have other conditions, such as diabetes, that put them at higher risk for fluid loss.

Prevention Is the Best Medicine

Follow these easy steps. 

  • Get your child vaccinated against rotavirus, which is the most common cause of gastroenteritis. 
  • Wash hands often with warm soap and water, especially when you use the bathroom, change diapers, and before and after you handle food. "Good soap and water hand-washing is probably our best protection," Nowalk says.
  • Wash all fruits and vegetables before eating them. Cook meat all the way through. This may prevent gastroenteritis caused by bacteria.