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Please note that we firmly encourage all children who are unwell, to stay at home. If you have questions as to whether your child is well enough to be at school, please refer to the material provided by the Ministry of Health at the bottom of this page or contact us if you are still unsure.

MidCentral Health & Ministry of Health Guidelines and Support Information

Diarrhoea and Vomiting Bugs

Most children will experience diarrhoea (loose/runny poos) and/or vomiting at some stage. The good news is that most infections that cause diarrhoea or vomiting don’t last long and usually are more disruptive than dangerous. Still, it is important to know what to do to relieve and prevent these unpleasant symptoms.

Diarrhoea and vomiting in children may occur for a variety of reasons. It could be as simple as eating something that did not agree with them or it could be an infection of the gut by micro-organisms. In many cases the condition resolves itself in a few days.

A common cause of diarrhoea and/or vomiting in children is viral gastroenteritis, often caused by Rotavirus or Norovirus. Viral gastroenteritis can pass through a household, school or childcare centre quickly because it is highly infectious. Diarrhoea may also be caused by bacterial (e.g. Campylobacter, Salmonella) or parasite (e.g. Giardia) infections.

Diarrhoea and vomiting infections are passed onto others through dirty hands, contaminated food and water, contaminated surfaces (e.g. door handles, toys) or contact with faeces. For this reason, it is vital to keep children away from childcare or school while they have diarrhoea or vomiting symptoms and keep them away until they have been symptom-free for 48 hours or as directed by their doctor or public health staff.

Children must be encouraged to wash and dry hands often, especially after toileting and before eating. This will reduce the likelihood of them picking up or passing on infections. Ensuring a clean and hygienic environment at home will help prevent any spread within the family.

Mild diarrhoea and vomiting is usually no cause for concern as long as the child is acting normally and drinking and eating enough. Children with diarrhoea and vomiting must be kept well hydrated so offer plenty of fluids. Call a doctor or Healthline (0800 611 116) if the child has diarrhoea or vomiting and is younger than 6 months, or the child has severe or on-going diarrhoea, a high temperature, repeated vomiting, refuses to drink fluids, severe stomach pains, has very dark urine or has stopped weeing or has blood in their poos.

MidCentral Public Health Service

Ministry of Health Infectious Diseases/Illnesses Guidelines...