What Counts As Diarrhea
Most children have a couple of episodes of mild diarrhea a year. The stools can be more watery, more frequent, or both. Since most healthy young children have periods when they have 3-4 stools a day, we usually don’t worry unless a child has more than 6 loose stools in a day: it’s nearly impossible to have serious consequences like dehydration if the child is having 4-5 loose stools a day, but is otherwise well. In fact, there are some stages in your child’s life when he or she should have this kind of stools. Young infants especially have variety in their stools, depending on whether they are breast or formula fed. But this is very normal.
What Should I Avoid Giving To My Child
- Do not give your child sugary drinks like fruit juice or sweetened fruit drinks, carbonated drinks , sweetened tea, broth or rice water. These do not have the right amounts of water, salts and sugar and can make your childs diarrhea worse.
- If your child is having frequent diarrhea, make sure they are drinking an oral rehydration solution and eating food. Bland foods with complex carbohydrates, lean meats, and fruits and vegetables are encouraged. Drinking only water may lead to low blood sugar or low sodium levels in your childs blood.
Talk to your doctor before giving any over-the-counter medications to stop diarrhea.
Tips To Help With Toddlers Diarrhea
- Avoid prune, pear, and apple juice, which are high in the indigestible sugar called sorbitol.
- Avoid foods and drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup.
- Limit all juice intake to less than 4 ounces per day. Have water or milk to drink instead.
- Avoid foods with artificial sweeteners .
- Make sure the diet includes healthy fats, such as nuts or nut butters, eggs, dairy fat, and plant-based oils.
- If your child has skin irritation on his or her bottom due to frequent loose stools, clean the skin with lukewarm water, use a zinc oxide-based diaper ointment and allow your child to have time diaper-free with the skin exposed to air if/when possible.
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Should I Feed My Child During Sickness
Yes. Even though eating may cause the amount of diarrhea to increase, your child will be able to get some nutrients from the food. This may prevent your child from losing too much weight and help your child get better quicker.
Breast-fed babies. If you are breast-feeding, keep breast-feeding while you give ORS.
Formula-fed babies. If you have been giving your baby formula, some doctors suggest switching from formula to ORS for up to 12 to 24 hours and then switching back to giving formula. Talk to your doctor about what to do.
Children on food. Children should begin eating within about 12 to 24 hours after starting to take ORS. Avoid foods with a lot of sugar and fat, such as ice cream, gelatin, pudding and fried foods.
If your child has had diarrhea, dairy products are best avoided for three to seven days. Sometimes bland foods are recommended for the first 24 hours. Foods that are bland include bananas, rice, applesauce, toast and unsweetened cereals. If these foods dont bother your child, other foods can be added over the next 48 hours. Most children can return to normal eating habits in about three days after the vomiting and diarrhea stop.
Getting Medical Help For Your Toddler
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Living With Vomiting And Diarrhea
Vomiting and diarrhea usually dont last long. If its caused by an infection, vomiting and diarrhea are a way for the body to get rid of the infection. Giving medicines that stop vomiting and diarrhea may actually interfere with the bodys efforts to heal. Antibiotics are usually not necessary either. Talk to your family doctor if you or a loved one is frequently vomiting or having diarrhea.
When Should I Worry About Diarrhea
Most diarrhea can be treated at home. You should have your child checked out if any of the following occur:
There is blood or mucus in the stool.
Your child is having very severe abdominal pain.
The diarrhea lasts more than 10 days without improving at all.
Your child seems to be getting dehydrated.
Your child is less than 6 months old.
Your child looks very ill or lethargic.
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Can You Prevent Diarrhoea In Children
Gastroenteritis is the most common cause of diarrhoea in children. It is highly infectious and easily spread between people, especially between children.
You can help minimise the spread of gastroenteritis by:
- washing your hands regularly, especially after nappy changes and before feeding
- washing your hands before food preparation and after going to the toilet
- wearing gloves when cleaning up diarrhoea or vomit and sealing it in a plastic bag before putting in the bin
Children Younger Than 1 Year Of Age
- Breast milk or formula mixed the normal way . Do not stop breastfeeding.
- No water except when used to make formula
- Do not give fruit juices or liquids that are high in sugar, such as Hawaiian Punch®, Hi-C®, Kool-Aid®, sodas or syrups. Do not give teas or broths. These liquids do not have the right mix of electrolytes and can make diarrhea worse.
- If your child eats solid foods, give more starchy foods like cereal and crackers. Avoid red-colored foods that might look like blood in diarrhea or in vomit.
- Try to go back to a normal diet after one day.
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How To Stop Diarrhea In Children
Depending on the cause, your childs diarrhea may have been impossible to prevent. However, practicing good hygiene can help stop some of the viruses that cause diarrhea from spreading.
Children with diarrhea should be kept away from other children until at least 48 hours after their symptoms improve.Children who have had diarrhea in the last two weeks should avoid public swimming pools.
Diarrhea in a toddler is common and usually easily treated, but that doesnt make it any more pleasant for you or your little one. Lots of fluids, a healthy balanced diet, practicing good hygiene and a trip to the doctor are usually the best toddler diarrhea remedy!
Immediate Action Required: Call 999 Or Go To A& E If You Or Your Child:
- vomit blood or have vomit that looks like ground coffee
- have green or yellow-green vomit
- might have swallowed something poisonous
- have a stiff neck and pain when looking at bright lights
- have a sudden, severe headache or stomach ache
- Severe pain:
- always there and so bad its hard to think or talk
- you cannot sleep
- its very hard to move, get out of bed, go to the bathroom, wash or dress
- Moderate pain:
- makes it hard to concentrate or sleep
- you can manage to get up, wash or dress
- Mild pain:
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Preventing The Spread Of Infection
If a virus caused your childs diarrhea, do the following to prevent the spread to others:
- Make sure your child washes hands with soap and water after using the toilet and before eating.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer after touching your child and their eating utensils, dirty laundry or diapers .
- Keep your childs utensils, toys and dirty clothes away from others. Wash them in hot soapy water.
- Clean the toilet and hard surfaces often with disinfectant or an antimicrobial wipe. Let dry 15 seconds.
How Is Diarrhea Diagnosed
The healthcare provider will ask about your childs symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical exam. Your child may have lab tests to check blood and urine.
Other tests may include:
A stool culture to check for abnormal bacteria or parasites in your childs digestive tract. A small stool sample is taken and sent to a lab.
A stool evaluation to check the stool for blood or fat
Blood tests to rule out certain diseases
Imaging tests to rule out structural problems
Tests to check for food intolerance or allergies
A sigmoidoscopy. This test lets the healthcare provider check the inside of part of your childs large intestine. It helps to tell what is causing diarrhea, stomach pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. It uses a short, flexible, lighted tube . The tube is put into your childs intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into the intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside.
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Possible Causes Of Infant Diarrhea
Toddlers and older children can eat saltine crackers when recovering from diarrhea.
Diet For Diarrhea Only
The main goal while treating diarrhea is to prevent dehydration. This is the loss of too much water and minerals from the body. When this occurs, body fluids must be replaced. This is done by giving your child small amounts of liquids often. You can also give oral rehydration solution. Oral rehydration solution is available at pharmacies and most grocery stores. Dont use sports drinksthey are not good enough. In general, for mild diarrhea, the child can continue to eat.
If your baby is breastfed:
Keep breastfeeding. Feed your child more often than usual.
If diarrhea is severe, give oral rehydration solution between feedings.
As diarrhea decreases, stop giving oral rehydration solution and resume your normal breastfeeding schedule.
If your baby is bottle-fed:
If your child is on solid food:
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When To Call The Doctor
- Severe stomach pain
- Bloody diarrhea
- Diarrhea that is more frequent or more severe
- Signs of dehydration
- A high fever. Use a digital thermometer and wash thoroughly after each use.
- for age 3 months or younger, a rectal temperature of 100.4°F or higher.
- for any age, a temperature over 102°F , that lasts more than 2 days. Take rectal, ear or axillary temperatures in infants 4 months of age or older. When your child reaches 4 years of age, oral temperatures are OK.
Diet For Children With Diarrhea
In many cases, you can continue feeding your child as usual. The diarrhea will normally go away in time, without any changes or treatment. But while children have diarrhea, they should:
- Eat small meals throughout the day instead of 3 big meals.
- Eat some salty foods, such as pretzels and soup.
When necessary, changes in the diet may help. No specific diet is recommended. But children often do better with bland foods. Give your child foods such as:
- Baked or broiled beef, pork, chicken, fish, or turkey
- Cooked eggs
- Bananas and other fresh fruits
- Bread products made from refined, white flour
- Pasta or white rice
- Cereals such as cream of wheat, farina, oatmeal, and cornflakes
- Pancakes and waffles made with white flour
- Cornbread, prepared or served with very little honey or syrup
- Cooked vegetables, such as carrots, green beans, mushrooms, beets, asparagus tips, acorn squash, and peeled zucchini
- Some desserts and snacks, such as Jell-O, popsicles, cakes, cookies, or sherbet
- Baked potatoes
In general, removing seeds and skins from these foods is best.
Use low-fat milk, cheese, or yogurt. If dairy products are making the diarrhea worse or causing gas and bloating, your child may need to stop eating or drinking dairy products for a few days.
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Home Remedies For Diarrhea In Babies
You are probably well acquainted with the discomfort of cramps, gas, and the churning in the lower GI associated with diarrhea. Your baby can go through the same discomfort, which prompts any parent to look for a quick solution. You can find that solution among our 15 home remedies for diarrhea in babies.
Before getting started, be sure to understand that babies takes in a broad range of ages between birth and 24 months. Not all of these remedies can be used for every age. If you are unsure about whether a particular remedy is appropriate for your baby, consult a health care professional before using it.
What If My Child Is Dehydrated
For kids who show signs of mild dehydration, doctors recommend giving oral rehydration solutions . These are available in most grocery stores and drugstores without a prescription and replace body fluids as needed. Your doctor will tell you what kind to give, how much, and for how long.
Kids should not be rehydrated with water alone because it doesnt contain the right mix of sodium, potassium, and other important minerals and nutrients.
In some cases, kids with severe diarrhea may need to get IV fluids at the hospital for a few hours to help treat the dehydration.
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How To Stop Diarrhea In A 2
Diarrhea is common in young children and can have many causes, including viral and bacterial infections that are easily spread by kids.Most cases of diarrhea are not serious, but they do need to run their course. Unfortunately, this can take up to a week, depending on the cause. The good news is that most kids will recover fine on their own and can continue eating as normal, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics 1.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Offer your child clear fluids throughout the day, to keep him hydrated despite the fluid loss from the diarrhea. Water is a good choice, but you can also try to get him to eat some broth.
Avoid giving your child fruit juices such as apple juice. Although many kids like the taste of fruit juices, the sugars in fruit can make diarrhea worse, according to the MayoClinic website 4.
Allow your child to eat as much or as little as she wants. Start by offering soft, low-fiber foods, and then gradually move to harder foods with more fiber. Good choices include rice, plain crackers and chicken.
Change dirty diapers as necessary. Because of the increase in bowel movements when a child has diarrhea, the skin on the bottom might become irritated and inflamed. Wipe the diaper area thoroughly, and apply diaper rash cream as needed.
Contact your child’s pediatrician if your notice blood in his stool or if his fever is greater than 102 degrees F.
When Your Toddler Should Be Seen By A Pediatrician For Diarrhea
If you’ve tried all the methods described above and they’re not working, if your child has any other unusual symptoms , or if their diarrhea has been going on for some time, then you should see your child’s pediatrician. They may choose to order stool cultures to check for parasites and bacterial infections. If the cause is a bacterial infection, for instance, the doctor might be able to prescribe an antibiotic drug that can help get rid of the infection .
If your child is very fussy, has greasy stools that are very foul-smelling, or if they are not gaining weight appropriately, then your pediatrician might be more aggressive in looking for a medical cause for your child’s loose stools.
It is important to work on solving this problem, not only so your child feels better , but also because loose stools are bound to make it much more difficult to get them potty trained.
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Drink Plenty Of Fluids
One of the biggest problems with diarrhea is dehydration. This is what leads many people to the emergency room.
Diarrhea causes the body to lose a lot of water and electrolytes it needs to function normally. Electrolytes are minerals such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium that are needed for various bodily processes
It’s important to treat dehydration properly. Otherwise, it can become dangerous, especially in young children.
To manage a mild bout of diarrhea, you need to replace the fluids and electrolytes you lost. Drink plenty of water, clear juices, clear broths, or an electrolyte-rich sports drink.
There are also things you should avoid when you have an episode of diarrhea. Avoid coffee, caffeinated drinks, prune juice, sugary drinks, sodas, and alcohol. These all have a laxative effect. It’s also a good idea to avoid dairy products if you’re lactose intolerant, which means you can’t digest the main sugar in milk well.
Young children and babies with diarrhea need pediatric rehydration drinks. These are marketed under certain brand names, like:
Breastfed babies should continue to breastfeed. Children should continue eating their regular diet. Also, they should drink rehydrating fluids. This is better than putting them on a restrictive diet.
Some people want to avoid the artificial colorings or flavorings in some rehydration drinks. You can make a homemade rehydration drink with only salt, sugar, and water.