Diarrhea In Children
Diarrhea means having loose bowel movements often. Most of the time, it goes away in 1 or 2 days. Nearly everyone gets this kind of diarrhea at one time or another. Diarrhea may be caused by infection, food poisoning, antibiotics, or some foods.
Symptoms of diarrhea include frequent loose bowel movements, abdominal pain and cramping, and fever.
When your child has diarrhea, he loses water and other nutrients the body needs. You need to replace the fluids and body chemicals your child has lost. This can be done by having your child drink plenty of clear fluids, like water, weak tea, bouillon, sports drinks, or other oral rehydrating solutions. Your child may also drink soft drinks without caffeine, such as 7 UP, after letting it go flat. Make sure your child drinks often so that he does not get dehydrated. Your child can suck on ice chips or Popsicles if he is too sick to his stomach to drink fluids.
It is OK for your child to keep eating while he has diarrhea, as long as it does not seem to worsen the diarrhea or stomach cramps. Foods that are easiest to digest are soft starchy foods, such as bananas, cooked cereal, rice, plain noodles, gelatin, eggs, toast or bread with jelly, and applesauce. When your child’s symptoms are gone, avoid milk products and fresh fruit other than bananas for a few more days. Also avoid fresh vegetables, greasy or fatty foods, such as cheeseburgers or bacon, and highly seasoned or spicy foods.
If a breast-feeding infant gets diarrhea, continue breast-feeding, but feed more often. Talk to your provider about giving electrolyte solutions such as Pedialyte between breast-feedings for up to 24 hours. For children over 1 year of age, give extra water and starchy foods. If the child refuses solid food, you can give milk or formula.
Treatment for diarrhea may also include:
· taking an antibiotic, or in some cases stopping an antibiotic your child has been taking, as directed by your healthcare provider
· using a hot water bottle or electric heating pad set on low on your child’s stomach for cramping pain, or
· Using over-the-counter pain relievers, such as acetaminophen. Check with your healthcare provider before you give medicine that contains aspirin or salicylates to a child or teen because of the risk for a serious illness called Reye’s syndrome.
Always check with your healthcare provider before you give your child any medicine for diarrhea. These medicines can actually make the illness more severe, especially if the diarrhea is bloody.