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Gastroenteritis Medical Treatment
If the patient cannot take fluids by mouth because of vomiting, the health care practitioner may insert an IV to replace fluids back into the body (rehydration).
In infants, depending upon the level of dehydration, intravenous fluids may be delayed in order to attempt oral rehydration therapy. Frequent feedings, as small as a 1/6 ounce (5 cc) at a time, may be used to restore hydration.
Antibiotics are usually not prescribed until a bacteria or parasite has been identified as the cause of the infection. Antibiotics may be given for certain bacteria, specifically Campylobacter, Shigella, and Vibrio cholerae, if properly identified through laboratory tests. Otherwise, using any antibiotic or the wrong antibiotic can worsen some infections or make them last longer.
Antibiotics are not used to treat virus infections.
Some infections, such as Salmonella, are not treated with antibiotics. With supportive care comprising of fluids and rest, the body is able to fight off and rid itself of the infection without antibiotics.
For adults, the doctor may prescribe medications to stop the vomiting (antiemetics) such as:
Sometimes these medications are prescribed as a suppository.
Zofran is an effective anti-nausea medication used for infants and children.
Antidiarrheal medications are not usually recommended if the infection is associated with a toxin that causes the diarrhea. The most common antidiarrheal agents for people older than 3 years of age include over-the-counter (OTC) medications such as:
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/11/2016
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