Gastroenteritis is a common childhood illness that causes diarrhea and vomiting that can lead to dehydration. It is usually caused by a virus but can also be caused by bacteria or a parasite. Most of the time mild diarrhea and vomiting last for just a few days. However, if symptoms don't go away or they get worse, your child may need to be treated in the hospital.

Call your child's doctor if your child is younger than 6 months and has any of the following:

The biggest concern with gastroenteritis is dehydration, which occurs when a child loses too much fluid and becomes dried out. If your child has lost a lot of fluids from vomiting or diarrhea, he may need an IV to get fluids back into his body. An IV is a small plastic tube that is placed inside a vein under your child's skin. Fluids are given...

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