Diarrhea in kids—What you should know
- Diarrhea is very common in children, and is most commonly associated with
an infectious viral condition. It is often messy and uncomfortable.
- The primary concern in kids is prevention of dehydration. Symptoms of dehydration
would be any one of the following:
- Tearless crying
- Sticky mouth inside (should normally be wet and slippery)
- No urine output for > 8 hours for infants, > 12 hours for toddler-adult
one of the above symptoms is present the child needs to be taken to ER)
- If the child is tolerating fluids without vomiting, unlimited amounts of
clear fluids like Pedialyte, (no fruit juice at all) should be offered
to replenish fluids lost. Electrolyte solutions like Gatorade can be diluted
by half with water and used.
- If the child is able to tolerate solid foods, the diet should be kept bland
and starchy—pasta, crackers, rice, potatoes, etc. Bananas and applesauce
are helpful. Probiotics can help restore the GI tract with normal healthy
bacteria. If cow's milk is causing worsening symptoms consider soy
milk, rice milk, almond milk or LactAid milk.
- Stomach aches are associated with diarrhea, but should "come in waves"
and be somewhat relieved (for a short time at least) with passage of stool.
- Do not expect a speedy return to normal stooling patterns. Diarrhea from
typical, harmless causes can last up to 2 weeks.
- Diaper rash in diapered children with diarrhea is expected. You can sometimes
head this off by using a typical diaper rash cream for prevention, and
using plain water washing for removal of stool.
- Frequent hand washing is important to prevent spread of illness.
Over the counter medications such as Immodium, Kaopectate, or Pepto Bismol are
Call your child's health care provider or have your child seen if:
- Any signs of dehydration occur (see above)
- Your child has bloody diarrhea
- Mild diarrhea lasts longer than 2 weeks
continuous abdominal pain for more than 2 hours
- Fever higher than 105 or between 100.3-105 for longer than 72 hours
This information did not help and you are concerned