Information for the public
Contacting a healthcare professional
If you contact a healthcare professional by phone, they should ask you questions about your child's symptoms. This will help them to decide if your child needs to see someone face to face. An ambulance may need to be called if the healthcare professional thinks your child is seriously ill, but this is rare.
If you see a healthcare professional face to face they should examine your child to check if they have become dehydrated and to rule out serious illness. For instance, they will be checking for such things as shortness of breath, neck stiffness, bulging fontanelle in an infant, non-blanching rash (that is, a rash that doesn't fade when a glass is pressed firmly against the skin), or bilious (green) vomit. If your child has any of these symptoms, you should mention them to the healthcare professional when you see them or when you are describing your child's symptoms over the telephone.
Your healthcare professional should explain how to tell if your child's illness is getting worse, and arrange for you to speak to or see them again if you need to.
Your healthcare professional will recommend the best option for treating your child based on your description, and an examination if you see them face to face. Occasionally they may ask for stool or blood samples for tests.
Medicines that ease the symptoms of diarrhoea ('antidiarrhoeals') should not be offered to your child. In rare circumstances, your healthcare professional may prescribe antibiotics for your child.