Health Info

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General Health - Vomiting and Diarrhea


Most of the time vomiting and diarrhea are caused by “gastroenteritis,” an inflammation in the intestines caused by a virus or bacteria. Mild abdominal cramping may also occur.

How should I care for myself when I have vomiting and diarrhea?

The best approach is to put your stomach and intestines at rest.

It is important to follow a special diet to prevent becoming dehydrated from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.

Vomiting and diarrhea may be contagious, so it is important to wash hands well after using the bathroom.

For Diarrhea Only

For diarrhea only, push clear liquids as tolerated at a minimum of 2 to 3 quarts per day. Some examples of clear liquids are as follows:

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When Vomiting Stops

When vomiting has stopped for 8 hours, and/or diarrhea slows down, begin a bland diet:

Avoid dairy products and meat for at least 36 hours. Also avoid large meals, coffee, alcohol, fatty, fried, greasy foods (hamburgers, hot dogs, hoagies), highly seasoned or spiced foods (pizza, tomato products), salad dressing, oil, butter, and raw vegetables until you feel better. Follow a bland diet for 1 to 2 days. 

When to Call a Nurse

Call a nurse at 814-863-4463 if you develop any new prolonged or more severe symptoms of illness:

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In an emergency go to Mount Nittany Medical Center or call 911 for an ambulance.

Test Results and Advice Nurse

Send secure message to advice nurse via the UHS website or call 814-863-4463.


Appointments can be made online via the UHS website, by phone 814-863-0774, or in person. If you are unable to keep your appointment, please call or go online to cancel. Otherwise you will be charged for the visit.

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. This information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

Approved by the UHS Patient Education Committee

Revised 12/14/16

Other Health Topics: Women’s Health | Sexual Health | Birth Control | Illegal Drug Use

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