If you or your child needs to see a doctor, you'll likely see your primary care provider first. If there are questions about the diagnosis, your doctor may refer you to an infectious disease specialist.
What you can do
Preparing a list of questions will help you make the most of your time with your doctor. Some questions you might want to ask your or your child's doctor include:
- What's the likely cause of the symptoms? Are there other possible causes?
- Is there a need for tests?
- What's the best treatment approach? Are there any alternatives?
- Is there a need to take medicine?
- What can I do at home to ease the symptoms?
What to expect from your doctor
Some questions the doctor may ask include:
- When did symptoms begin?
- Have the symptoms been continuous, or do they come and go?
- How severe are the symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen symptoms?
- Have you been in contact with anyone with similar symptoms?
What you can do in the meantime
Drink plenty of fluids. Stick with bland foods to reduce stress on your digestive system. If your child is sick, follow the same approach — offer plenty of fluids and bland food. If you're breast-feeding or using formula, continue to feed your child as usual. Ask your child's doctor if giving your child an oral rehydration solution, available without a prescription at pharmacies, would help.
Dec. 02, 2014
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Norovirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Viral gastroenteritis. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/viralgastroenteritis/index.htm. Accessed May 20, 2013.
- Matson DO. Rotavirus vaccines for infants. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 21, 2014.
- Hoa Tran TN, et al. Molecular epidemiology of norovirues associated with acute sporadic gastroenteritis in children: Global distribution of genogroups, genotypes and GII.4 variants. Journal of Clinical Virology. 2013;56:185.
- Norovirus: Clinical overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/hcp/clinical-overview.html. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Cortese MM, et al. Effectiveness of monovalent and pentavalent rotavirus vaccine. Pediatrics. 2013;131:e25. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/132/1/e25.full. Accessed Oct. 10, 2014.
- Rotavirus. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/rotavirus/index.html. Accessed Oct. 10, 2014.
- Rotavirus. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/immunization/diseases/rotavirus/en/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2014.
- Matson DO. Viral gastroenteritis in children: Prevention and treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Oct. 21, 2014.
- Travelers' health: Food and water safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/page/food-water-safety. Accessed Oct. 21, 2014.