(406) 587-5870  f: (406) 522-1536   /   280 W Kagy Blvd, Suite G Bozeman, MT 59715

(406) 587-5870
f: (406) 522-1536
280 W Kagy Blvd, Suite G Bozeman, MT 59715

Vomiting & Diarrhea

Most vomiting and diarrhea is caused by a viral infection or minor reaction to a food that disagrees with your child. Vomiting is forceful throwing up and differs from effortless spitting up which is common in infants. Diarrhea is stool that is watery and occurs more frequently than normal. Most stomach viruses cause vomiting for 6 to 24 hours, followed by 4 to 5 days of diarrhea, though it can take 2 weeks for a child's bowel movements to be completely back to normal. Symptoms often include decreased appetite, fever and fussiness as well.

Signs that a child is dehydrated include no urine in 8 to 12 hours, dry tongue, and no tears when crying (if over 4 months old). It generally takes more than 24 hours of vomiting and diarrhea for these symptoms to develop.


  • Your child has signs of dehydration
  • You suspect your child may have gotten into toxic chemicals or medication
  • Your child is inconsolable or complains of severe belly pain for more than 4 hours
  • Your child is not normally responsive or is extremely drowsy
  • Your child has bloody vomit or bloody diarrhea or looks very sick to you


  • Your child has had vomiting going on for more than 24 hours
  • Your child has severe diarrhea, occurring every hour for more than 8 to 12 hours
  • Your child's bowel movement is not back to normal within 2 weeks


  • Wash hands frequently to prevent spread of the illness to the entire family
  • During the vomiting portion of the illness, offer small amounts of clear fluids (water, diluted juice or Pedialyte) frequently for 6 hours. Start with 1 ounce every 10 to 20 minut
  • If your child is breastfed, continue nursing but feed more often for shorter periods of time
  • If no vomiting for several hours, gradually increase the amount of fluid offered or the amount of time nursing. Slowly return to milk or formula, or continue nursing
  • Then reintroduce simple, starchy solid foods like cereal, toast, noodles, bananas, potatoes, or rice and gradually return your child to his or her regular diet over several days
  • If vomiting recurs, back up to the previous step for a few hours and then try again to advance his or her diet
  • Limit other fruits, vegetables and fruit juice and avoid fried or fatty foods until diarrhea is resolved
  • Offer yogurt with "active cultures" once vomiting subsides if your child is over 6 months old since it helps restore normal gastrointestinal function
  • Your child may return to day care or school once vomiting, fever and diarrhea have resolved