What do we do for patients with gastroenteritis?

Patients with gastroenteritis do not always need medical tests. Sometimes blood, urine, or stool tests may be done to see if your child is dehydrated or to check which virus your child has. Since gastroenteritis is caused by a virus, antibiotics do not help. Antibiotics only work for infections caused by bacteria.

We recommend treating mild dehydration by giving your child fluids to drink. Studies have shown that giving fluids by mouth is better for your child than giving fluids through an "IV" (an IV is a small tube that is placed in a vein). However, some children who are severely dehydrated, or cannot or will not drink do need fluids through an IV.