Viral Gastroenteritis

ExitCare ImageViral gastroenteritis is also called stomach flu. This illness is caused by a certain type of germ (virus). It can cause sudden watery poop (diarrhea) and throwing up (vomiting). This can cause you to lose body fluids (dehydration). This illness usually lasts for 3 to 8 days. It usually goes away on its own.


  • Drink enough fluids to keep your pee (urine) clear or pale yellow. Drink small amounts of fluids often.

  • Ask your doctor how to replace body fluid losses (rehydration).

  • Avoid:

  • Foods high in sugar.

  • Alcohol.

  • Bubbly (carbonated) drinks.

  • Tobacco.

  • Juice.

  • Caffeine drinks.

  • Very hot or cold fluids.

  • Fatty, greasy foods.

  • Eating too much at one time.

  • Dairy products until 24 to 48 hours after your watery poop stops.

  • You may eat foods with active cultures (probiotics). They can be found in some yogurts and supplements.

  • Wash your hands well to avoid spreading the illness.

  • Only take medicines as told by your doctor. Do not give aspirin to children. Do not take medicines for watery poop (antidiarrheals).

  • Ask your doctor if you should keep taking your regular medicines.

  • Keep all doctor visits as told.


  • You cannot keep fluids down.

  • You do not pee at least once every 6 to 8 hours.

  • You are short of breath.

  • You see blood in your poop or throw up. This may look like coffee grounds.

  • You have belly (abdominal) pain that gets worse or is just in one small spot (localized).

  • You keep throwing up or having watery poop.

  • You have a fever.

  • The patient is a child younger than 3 months, and he or she has a fever.

  • The patient is a child older than 3 months, and he or she has a fever and problems that do not go away.

  • The patient is a child older than 3 months, and he or she has a fever and problems that suddenly get worse.

  • The patient is a baby, and he or she has no tears when crying.


  • Understand these instructions.

  • Will watch your condition.

  • Will get help right away if you are not doing well or get worse.