What to look out for
Vomiting and diarrhoea can occur on their own or together. Gastro enteritis is the most common cause of diarrhoea caused by an infection, either viral or bacterial, from contaminated food or close contact with someone else who has symptoms. Diarrhoea usually lasts between 24 and 48 hours.
Watch our video about talking tummy bugs on the right, with advice from Dr. Nuala O’Connor from Cork.
Other common causes of diarrhoea include:
What can you do
Stay at home from work and practice good hand hygiene to avoid spreading the infection to others. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of clear fluid like flat white lemonade, sports drinks or oral rehydration solutions available without prescription in pharmacies.
You can continue to eat with diarrhoea but stick to starchy foods like toast, pasta, rice, chicken or fish. Avoid dairy, fruit and vegetables until the diarrhoea has stopped. It is best not to return to work until 48 hours after diarrhoea has stopped especially if you are a food handler, healthcare worker or have contact with the public.
Avoid taking antidiarrhoeal medicines unless you need to travel urgently as while they stop the symptoms they may prolong the duration of the illness.
When to seek help
Contact your doctor if:
- diarrhoea persists for more than 48 hours
- you notice blood in the diarrhoea
- you have bad tummy pain with diarrhoea
- you have recently returned from travel abroad
- you are on regular medication and cannot take it
- you are worried
Antibiotics are rarely used in the treatment of diarrhoea.
As you can probably guess, this website can’t ever replace the advice you might get from a health professional. While we aim to give you the best advice we can, if you are at all worried about yourself or your child, please call or visit your GP or your Pharmacist.
We hope you feel better soon!