Fasting (not eating or drinking) is essential prior to sedation or a general anaesthesia. Fasting reduces the risk of regurgitating the contents of the stomach which, if it occurs, may lead to damage to the lungs by the stomach acid.
Your Anaesthetist may have different instructions for specific patient groups. These will be provided to you if necessary.
The following fasting times are current guidelines from ANZCA (Aust. & NZ College of Anaesthetists) and they are the latest times you can have anything to eat or drink.
You can contact the hospital or your anaesthetist if you have any concerns/questions.
6 Hours before your procedure
- You can have a light meal (not too fatty) and drink but then fast after this.
- No chewing gum after this time either.
2 Hours before your procedure
- You can drink clear fluids. Clear fluids include water, cordial, black tea or coffee, pulp free juice (eg. clear apple juice).
- It does NOT include cloudy or milk-based drinks or alcohol.
- Therefore – No milk, sugar, carbonated (fizzy) drink, alcohol.
Children > 6 months of age
6 Hours before your child’s procedure
Your child needs to fast from all food and milk drinks (including formula) for 6 hours prior to their operation. This ensures that their stomach is empty and reduces the risk of aspirating contents of their stomach into their lungs.
2 Hours before your child’s procedure
Clear fluids (e.g. water, apple juice) may be given to your child up to 2 hours before their operation.