Child Specialist & Neonatologist

Gastroenteritis in children

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Gastroenteritis (gastro) is a very common illness in infants and children. It is usually caused by viruses that infect the bowel. It tends to be more common during winter months. Typically, gastro begins with vomiting. Children then develop frequent, watery poos (diarrhoea). Often children may have tummy pain and fever with the diarrhoea. Some children may have a runny nose, or a sore throat.

How is gastro spread?

Viral gastro can be easily spread from person to person. It is very important to keep children with gastro away from other children outside of your family. They should not go to day-care, kindergarten or school whilst they are sick.

Hand-washing with soap and water (for example, after nappy changes or going to the toilet, as well as before and after food preparation) is very important to stop the spread of the virus.


  • If your baby is less than six months old and has gastroenteritis, see a doctor as soon as possible.
  • Other members of the family may be affected.
  • Young children tend to be affected most.
  • Give enough fluids to cover normal requirements and to replace what is lost through vomiting an diarrhoea