Is My Kid Contagious?

Vomiting and Diarrhea

Sometimes accompanied by fever, these icky conditions are most often caused by viruses invading the intestinal tract. Vomiting usually ends after 24 to 48 hours, but diarrhea can last a week or more.

Treatment Feed your child a bland diet (no spices or dairy foods) and lots of liquids. Pedialyte, which is full of important electrolytes, is a good choice in small and frequent servings.

Contagious factor Vomiting and diarrhea are spread by fecal bacteria, so wash your hands immediately after changing a diaper or cleaning vomit. If your child is throwing up, she is contagious from the first symptom until she feels completely better. With diarrhea or illnesses that involve both vomiting and diarrhea, contagiousness spans from the first symptom until stools are formed again. (If your baby wears a diaper, her stools should be firm enough so that they're not leaking.)

If your child has blood in her stools and a fever above 102 degrees F., she may have a bacterial infection. In this case, your doctor will collect a stool sample. Keep your child home until you have the results (this takes up to 72 hours); contagiousness can last for several weeks, even if she doesn't show any symptoms.

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