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Diarrhea - How to Treat it in Children?

Dr. Kalpesh Patil 91% (66 ratings)
M.Ch - Paediatric Surgery, MNAMS (Membership of The National Academy) (General Surgery), DNB (General Surgery), MBBS
Pediatrician, Pune  •  14 years experience
Diarrhea - How to Treat it in Children?

Diarrhea occurs when the body is expelling germs out of it. An episode of diarrhea can last anywhere from a couple of days to a week. Dehydration, cramps, vomiting, nausea and fever often accompany diarrhea. Usually, children tend to get diarrhoea more than adults.

Diarrhea treatment according to causes behind it

  1. Treating diarrhea due to infection: Some common causes of diarrhea include infection from rotavirus, salmonella (a type of bacteria) and rarely giardia (a type of parasite). In children, virus is a common cause of diarrhea. Besides watery or loose stools, viral gastroenteritis infection symptoms include fever, headache, stomach ache and vomiting. Gastroenteritis diarrhoea can last for 5-14 days. During this time, fluid loss must be prevented. In younger children, oral rehydration solution (ORS) or breast milk is enough. Just feeding them water won’t replenish the potassium, sodium and other nutrients they lose. Older children, to prevent fluid loss, can be given ORS and popsicles to counter dehydration and vomiting.
  2. Treating diarrhea due to medications: Antibiotics or laxatives can cause diarrhea in children. If the diarrhea is mild, make sure your child is hydrated. If the antibiotics are causing diarrhoea, you need to continue medication, but do consult a doctor immediately.
  3. Treating diarrhea due to food poisoning: When it comes to food poisoning induced diarrhea, the same method as countering infection-induced diarrhea should be followed. Keep your child hydrated and call your doctor.

Diarrhea and children - recognising dehydration

The most serious complication of diarrhea is dehydration, especially if the diarrhea is severe. Severe dehydration is critical as it can cause brain damage, seizure, even death. Your child may need immediate medical attention, if you notice the following symptoms:

  1. Light-headedness and dizziness
  2. Sticky, dark mouth
  3. Dark yellow urine
  4. No or few tears when crying
  5. Dry, cool skin
  6. Loss of energy

When should you visit a doctor

Diarrhea resolves within a few days, but it can have serious complications. Call your doctor if you notice signs such as:
1. Looks very sick
2. Diarrhea has persisted for more than 3 days
3. Your child is less than 6 months old
4. Your child is vomiting bloody yellow or green fluid
5. Seems dehydrated
6. The fever reads above 105 degree Fahrenheit
7. Bloody stools
8. Rashes
9. Stomach pain persists for more than 2 hours
10. Infrequent urination

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