Diarrhoea and vomiting are common in adults, children and babies. You can have them together or on their own.

They’re usually caused by a stomach bug and should pass in a few days.

How to treat diarrhoea and vomiting yourself

You can usually treat yourself or your child at home.

The most important thing is to have plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

How long diarrhoea and vomiting last

In adults and children:

  • diarrhoea usually lasts 5 to 7 days
  • vomiting usually lasts 1 to 2 days

Diarrhoea and vomiting can spread easily

If you have a stomach bug, you could be infectious to others.

A pharmacist can help if:

  • your baby is under 12 months old and has diarrhoea or vomiting
  • you or your child (over 12 months old) have signs of dehydration – such as dark, smelly pee or peeing less than usual
  • your child has more than 5 bouts of diarrhoea or vomits more than 3 times in 24 hours

They may recommend:

  • oral rehydration sachets that you mix with water and drink
  • medicine to stop diarrhoea for a few hours (like loperamide) – not suitable for young children

See a GP if you:

  • keep vomiting and are unable to keep fluid down
  • are still dehydrated despite using oral rehydration sachets
  • have bloody diarrhoea or bleeding from your bottom
  • have green or yellow vomit
  • have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 2 days

Take your child to the GP if they:

  • are under 12 months old and have signs of dehydration – such as fewer wet nappies
  • are under 3 months old and have a temperature of 38C or higher
  • are 3 to 6 months old and have a temperature of 39C or higher
  • keep vomiting and are unable to keep fluid down
  • have diarrhoea for more than 7 days or vomiting for more than 2 days

Check with the GP before going in. They may suggest a phone check-up.

Call 111 if you can’t get an appointment.

Causes of diarrhoea and vomiting

You probably won’t know exactly what the cause is, but the main causes of diarrhoea and vomiting are treated in the same way.

They’re usually due to: