Diarrhoea and Vomiting (D&V)
Again, viruses cause most of these illnesses, and the symptoms of D&V are simply the body ‘getting rid’ of the agent that is causing the trouble! As such, it is best not to try to interfere with nature.
Vomiting usually passes off within 12 hours but diarrhoea may persist for several days. The most important thing to do is to rest the bowel, by not taking in any solid food. It is important however, to supply the body with sufficient water, sugar and salts to allow proper functioning of its vital organs. The most sensitive measure of this is the amount of urine produced: urine ought to be passed every eight or so hours.
A convenient way of preventing dehydration is to refrain from solid food until the diarrhoea has stopped (ie, the bowel is empty) but to take fluid in the form of water, dilute juice, Lucozade or Coke.
Small frequent sips (about the volume of an eggcup) are much less likely to provoke vomiting than bigger drinks, which fill the stomach. It is advisable to wait some 24 hours after the cessation of vomiting before any solid food is attempted.
The crampy, colicky pains, produced when the bowel goes into spasm will go when there is nothing left inside to contract down onto, but there may be a recurrence of these symptoms when a light diet is resumed. Should this prove to be the case do not become discouraged, simply refrain from solid food for a further 24 hours. Whilst Paracetamol will not cure the pains, it may well ‘take the edge off’ them.
If you pass any blood, either in the vomit or the diarrhoea, or you develop a temperature or feel that you are not progressing as outlined please contact the Surgery for further advice. Please do not be tempted to buy ‘anti-diarrhoea’ agents from the pharmacy before you contact the doctor, as they may ‘lock in’ the germs and cause a chronic problem.
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