Diarrhoea and vomiting are common in adults, children and babies. They're often caused by a stomach bug and should stop in a few days.
The advice is the same if you have diarrhoea and vomiting together or separately.
How to treat diarrhoea and vomiting yourself
You can usually treat yourself or your child at home. The most important thing is to have lots of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- stay at home and get plenty of rest
- drink lots of fluids, such as water or squash – take small sips if you feel sick
- carry on breast or bottle feeding your baby – if they're being sick, try giving small feeds more often than usual
- give babies on formula or solid foods small sips of water between feeds
- eat when you feel able to – you don't need to eat or avoid any specific foods
- take paracetamol if you're in discomfort – check the leaflet before giving it to your child
- do not have fruit juice or fizzy drinks – they can make diarrhoea worse
- do not make baby formula weaker – use it at its usual strength
- do not give children under 12 medicine to stop diarrhoea
- do not give aspirin to children under 16
How long diarrhoea and vomiting last
In adults and children:
- diarrhoea usually stops within 5 to 7 days
- vomiting usually stops in 1 or 2 days
Diarrhoea and vomiting can spread easily
Stay off school or work until you have not been sick or had diarrhoea for at least 2 days.
To help avoid spreading an infection:
- wash your hands with soap and water frequently
- wash any clothing or bedding that has poo or vomit on it separately on a hot wash
- clean toilet seats, flush handles, taps, surfaces and door handles every day
- do not prepare food for other people, if possible
- do not share towels, flannels, cutlery or utensils
- do not use a swimming pool until 2 weeks after the symptoms stop
A pharmacist can help if:
- you or your child (over 5 years) have signs of dehydration – such as dark, smelly pee or peeing less than usual
- you need to stop diarrhoea for a few hours
They may recommend:
- oral rehydration sachets you mix with water to make a drink
- medicine to stop diarrhoea for a few hours (like loperamide) – not suitable for children under 12