Diarrhoea and vomiting have historically had various definitions depending upon the author. NICE has standardised the definition in their current guidance [1].

Table 1: Definitions of vomiting and diarrhoea according to NICE [1].

Vomiting A forceful ejection of stomach contents up to and out of the mouth (as distinct from regurgitation commonly seen in infants)
Diarrhoea Passage of liquid or watery stools. In most cases there is an associated increase in frequency and volume

Gastroenteritis should therefore be suspected in children if there is a sudden onset of diarrhoea, with or without vomiting.

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