It is safe to treat your child at home if they do not develop severe diarrhoea or dehydration.
You can reduce your child’s symptoms at home by:
- continuing their normal milk feeds
- giving them plenty of small sips of water
- continuing to offer them small amounts of food - do not worry if your child does not want to eat for 1 or 2 days
- feeding them whole milk and fibre, if they are older than 12 months
- giving them liquid paracetamol to reduce a high temperature or tummy pains
Always read the label and give the correct dose of liquid paracetamol. Keep all medicines out of your child’s reach.
Most children with diarrhoea do not need antibiotics. This is because diarrhoea is usually caused by a virus. Antibiotics cannot treat viruses.
If your child has diarrhoea
If your child has diarrhoea, do not give them:
- fruit juices or fizzy drinks
- medications to stop diarrhoea
- diluted formula
When preparing formula, always follow the packet instructions. It is not safe to dilute formula by adding extra water to it. Make up the bottles as normal and give your baby extra water or drinks in addition to their milk feeds.
How to look after your baby when they’re sick
Dr Fiona McGuire, HSE Senior Medical Officer and GP, gives advice to parents on how to look after a sick baby and what to watch out for.