What Do I Do If My Baby Or Young Child Has Diarrhea
If your child has severe diarrhea, call your healthcare provider. Young children are at a higher risk of dehydration than adults. You also cant treat a childs diarrhea the same way you would an adult case. Over-the-counter medications can be dangerous in young children and all treatments of diarrhea in children should be guided by their healthcare provider. Its important to keep your child hydrated. Your provider will help you determine the best way to do this, but options often include:
- Breast milk.
- Electrolyte drinks for older children this is not recommended for babies.
The best option to keep your child hydrated might change as the child ages. Always check with your provider before giving your child a new liquid or treatment of any kind.
If you have any questions or concerns about your childs diarrhea, dont hesitate to call your provider.
When Should I Call My Doctor About Diarrhea
If you have diarrhea that fails to improve or resolve completely, you should call your healthcare provider. Keep track of any other symptoms you may be experiencing this includes fever, vomiting, rash, weakness, numbness, lightheadedness, dizziness, weight loss and blood in your stool. If you have any concerns, its always best to call your healthcare provider.
When Your Elderly Loved One Needs Medical Care For Diarrhea
Diarrhea is the frequent passage of loose, watery, stools three or more times in one day. It can affect people of all ages. An episode usually lasts about one or two days, and, typically, goes away on its own. Seniors are no more susceptible to diarrhea than others, but may sometimes require medical care when afflicted. If you think thats the case with your elderly loved one, you should know that DispatchHealth provides medical care for non-life-threatening conditions thats far more private and convenient than an emergency room or urgent care clinic. We can come to your loved ones home to administer safe and effective diarrhea treatment that restores his or her comfort and allows a confident return to daily life.
If this is an emergency, please call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department.
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How Can Diarrhea Be Prevented
It’s almost impossible to prevent kids from ever getting diarrhea. But there are some ways to make it less likely:
- Make sure kids wash their hands well and often, especially after using the toilet and before eating. Hand washing is the best way to prevent diarrheal infections that pass from person to person. Dirty hands carry germs into the body when kids bite their nails, suck their thumbs, eat with their fingers, or put any part of their hands into their mouths.
- Keep bathroom surfaces like sinks and toilets clean.
- Wash fruits and vegetables well before eating.
- Clean kitchen counters and cooking utensils well after they’ve been in contact with raw meat, especially poultry.
- Refrigerate meats as soon as possible after bringing them home from the store. Cook them until they’re no longer pink. Refrigerate all leftovers as soon as possible.
- Never drink from streams, springs, or lakes unless local health authorities have checked that the water is safe for drinking.
- Avoid washing pet cages or bowls in the same sink that you use to prepare food. And try to keep pet feeding areas separate from family eating areas.
When Should You Consult A Gp
Symptoms that are more severe may require a visit to your doctor. Schedule an appointment if:
Vomiting continues for more than two days
If you keep vomiting and can’t keep fluids down
You have diarrhoea for longer than seven days
Youve experienced unexplained weight loss along with vomiting and diarrhoea symptoms
Theres blood in your stools
You have symptoms of dehydration. Signs may include dry mouth, excessive thirst, dizziness, passing little or dark coloured urine
Your stools are black or very dark, as this may be a sign of bleeding within the bowel
You’re worried about your symptoms
If youre unsure whether your symptoms require medical attention, schedule a doctors appointment for an expert assessment.
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Have You Been Traveling Camping Or Have A New Pet
If you’re getting beyond three days and maybe into four or five days and maybe you’ve been camping recently. Or you’ve been swimming in mountain streams or lakes or drinking from mountain streams. Or you have a new pet. Or you have a pet turtle you found out while you were traveling and you pulled it out of a stream. These unusual things that would set you up for something more serious like giardia or salmonella. Things where we start to think about unusual infections. Those would be cases to come to the ER or see your doctor and get tested for that.
How Is The Cause Of Diarrhea Diagnosed
To find the cause of diarrhea, your health care provider may
- Do a physical exam
- Ask about any medicines you are taking
- Test your stool or blood to look for bacteria, parasites, or other signs of disease or infection
- Ask you to stop eating certain foods to see whether your diarrhea goes away
If you have chronic diarrhea, your health care provider may perform other tests to look for signs of disease.
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What Are The Complications Of Diarrhoea
Diarrhoea may cause dehydration. More fluids are lost from the body when you have diarrhoea than normally. Dehydration can lead to a loss of electrolytes minerals your body needs to function properly. This is why rehydration is so important.
Diarrhoea causes food to move quickly through your body. If this is ongoing it makes it difficult for you to absorb nutrients and can lead to malnutrition.
Some people may get temporary lactose intolerance after an episode of diarrhoea or gastroenteritis. See your doctor if the symptoms continue for more than a couple of weeks.
Whats The Difference Between Normal Diarrhea And Severe Diarrhea
There are actually several different ways to classify diarrhea. These types of diarrhea include:
- Acute diarrhea: The most common, acute diarrhea is loose watery diarrhea that lasts one to two days. This type doesnt need treatment and it usually goes away after a few days.
- Persistent diarrhea: This type of diarrhea generally persists for several weeks two to four weeks
- Chronic diarrhea: Diarrhea that lasts for more than four weeks or comes and goes regularly over a long period of time is called chronic diarrhea.
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Don’t Panic But Beware
It’s important to remember that in most cases, diarrhoea doesn’t mean bowel cancer, sometimes called colon cancer. However, it’s something your doctor may consider, especially if you’re over 50 or also have unexplained bleeding from your bottom, or have lost weight or been off your food.
If bowel cancer runs in your family, you may be at increased risk, and some people are eligible for regular colonoscopies to check for early changes which might become cancerous if left untreated. Do check with your GP. If you have bleeding from your back passage, always see your doctor. It’s usually down to piles or another non-sinister cause, but better safe than sorry.
With thanks to ‘My Weekly’ magazine where this article was originally published.
Risk Of Spreading Infection
Most cases of acute diarrhoea are potentially infectious to others. Viruses are easily spread, mainly through direct contact with vomit or faeces from an infected person, or through contact with a contaminated object or surface. Occasionally, the virus may be transmitted by airborne particles generated from vomiting and diarrhoea.People can reduce their chances of getting infected by carefully washing their hands after going to the toilet and before handling food. People looking after a person with the virus must also wash their hands thoroughly. Alcohol-based handwash solutions, available from pharmacies, have been shown to be better at reducing the spread of infection than soap and water, and are less drying to the skin.Anyone with acute diarrhoea should stay at home if possible to reduce the spread of infection. It is strongly recommended not to visit hospitals and nursing homes, and not to swim in public pools.
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What ‘chronic’ And ‘diarrhoea’ Mean In Medicine
My patients often use the word ‘chronic’ when they mean ‘dreadful’ but in medical terms it’s used to mean long-term. But how long ‘long-term’ is, is a moveable feast.
As far as diarrhoea is concerned, some doctors say it’s chronic if it’s gone on for more than two weeks, and some say four weeks. One study suggested that one in 20 people get diarrhoea lasting at least four weeks in any year. Of course, the next question is what doctors mean by ‘diarrhoea‘. Officially, opening your bowels more than three times a day, with loose or liquid poos, is diarrhoea – but with some tummy bugs and other conditions, going a dozen times a day is common.
When to worry about diarrhoea
Nothing ruins a glorious sunny stretch of weather like a nasty bout of food poisoning. Most case…
Continue Learning About Diarrhea
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
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Is Stomach Pain A Symptom Of Covid Vaccine
Serious side effects of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine can occur within three weeks of vaccination and require emergency care. Possible symptoms include: Shortness of breath. Persistent stomach pain.
A fever, dry cough, and shortness of breath are hallmark signs COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus. But early research suggests that another common symptom may be often overlooked: stomach upset.
When to see a doctor
You’ve been vomiting for more than two days. You’re vomiting blood. You’re dehydrated signs of dehydration include excessive thirst, dry mouth, deep yellow urine or little or no urine, and severe weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness.
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The Pain Is Sudden Sharp And On One Side Of Your Pelvis Followed By Dull Pain In Your Lower Abdomen
Sometimes this specific type of stomach pain signals a ruptured ovarian cyst. Ovarian cysts are masses that often form from the follicles that are a key part of ovulation, per the Mayo Clinic. If a follicle grows in preparation for ovulation but doesnt actually burst to release an egg, as it should, that can create a cyst. Other times, cysts form when a follicle does burst but continues to accumulate fluid. Even though it sounds kind of bonkers, this isnt always an issue. Sometimes ovarian cysts dont cause any symptoms and eventually go away on their own, the Mayo Clinic explains. But if one bursts, it can hurt. A lot.
A ruptured ovarian cyst is associated with sharp pains, which will last for a whilefollowed by some dull pains, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive sciences at Yale Medical School, tells SELF. The pains are often on the side, but the lasting discomfort tends to be toward the middle. This can vary, thoughheres more of a deep dive into how ovarian cyst pain can present.
A ruptured ovarian cyst isnt necessarily a problem, but if its especially painful or if you also experience fever, vomiting, cold and clammy skin, rapid breathing, and lightheadedness, call your doctor to see if they can get your ovaries in line or address whatever else may be causing your stomach pain.
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The Pain Came On Pretty Quickly And Youre Vomiting
This could also be a sign of foodborne illness like salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, or E.coli. Its really no surprise that if you eat something off, your body might pull an Exorcist in response.
But these symptoms can also happen due to acute gastroenteritis, also known as the stomach flu, Priyam V. Tripathi, M.D., M.P.H., a gastroenterologist at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, tells SELF. Gastroenteritis is an inflammation of the lining of the intestines that can be caused by a virus, bacteria, or parasite, the U.S. National Library of Medicine says, noting that the viral form of gastroenteritis is the second most common illness in the United States. While it can be hard to tell the difference between food poisoning and the stomach flu , one key differentiator is that gastroenteritis usually doesnt cause bloody diarrhea, while food poisoning often does, as SELF previously explained.
The good news is that gastroenteritis usually goes away on its own, Dr. Tripathi says. But, she adds, if youre struggling to keep fluids down , its definitely time to see a doctor.
Causes Of Diarrhea In Seniors
The most common causes of diarrhea are:
- Viral infections Viruses that cause diarrhea include rotavirus, norovirus, and adenovirus. The highly contagious norovirus is the most common cause of diarrhea epidemics, such as those that occur on cruise ships, and at nursing homes, schools, and daycare facilities.
- Bacteria and parasites Food or water contaminated with bacteria and parasites can cause infectious diarrhea, also known as travelers diarrhea since its common among people traveling to developing countries.
- Medications Some medications can upset the gastrointestinal tract and cause diarrhea for example, antibiotics, which disturb the natural balance of intestinal bacteria. Other medications that can lead to diarrhea are cancer drugs and antacids with magnesium.
- Lactose intolerance Some people who have difficulty digesting lactose, a sugar found in milk and other dairy products, can experience diarrhea after consuming them. Lactose intolerance can worsen with age due to lower levels of the enzyme that helps digest lactose.
- Digestive disorders Irritable bowel syndrome , Crohns disease, ulcerative colitis, and celiac disease are among the illnesses associated with chronic diarrhea.
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Causes Of Chronic Diarrhoea
- Some of the causes of chronic diarrhoea include:
- coeliac disease which reduces the intestines ability to absorb food
- chronic constipation the bowel is blocked by hard, impacted faeces, but some liquids manage to seep past the blockage. this condition, called spurious or overflow diarrhoea, is more common in the elderly
- hormone disorders such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism
- cancer such as bowel cancer
- inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease
- irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, and alternating constipation and diarrhoea
- lactose intolerance the inability to digest the milk sugar lactose
- medications including antibiotics, antacids that contain magnesium, laxatives, and drugs for treating hypertension and arthritis.
Is There A Color Of Diarrhea That I Should Be Worried About
The color of your poop can vary. Stool color can be influenced by the color of the food you eat. Usually, this isnt something you need to worry about. But if you ever see red in your stool or have a bowel movement that is black, that could be something more serious. Keep a record of any bowel movements that:
- Are black and tarry.
- Have blood or pus in them.
- Are consistently greasy or oily despite non-fatty meals.
- Are very foul-smelling.
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The Pain Is In Your Side Or Lower Back And It Hurts To Pee
It could be a kidney stone, which is a pebble-like piece of material that can form in one or both of your kidneys when you have high levels of certain minerals in your pee. Kidney stones can vary in shape and size, the NIDDK explains, and while its possible to have one and not even know it, larger stones can cause some otherworldly pain as they pass through your urinary tract on their way out of your body. Pain usually comes and goes and may move toward the groin, Dr. Lee says. The pain can be so intense that it can cause nausea, vomiting, and chills. In addition to the pain, you might also notice that your urine is pink, red, or brown due to blood, the NIDDK says. Given how painful kidney stones can be, you probably dont need us to tell you that you should see a doctor if you think you have them. Seriously, though, dont try to tough it out!
How Is Diarrhea Treated
In most cases, you can treat mild and uncomplicated diarrhea at home. By using an over-the-counter product like bismuth subsalicylate youll usually feel better very quickly.
However, over-the-counter medications arent always the solution. If your diarrhea is caused by an infection or parasite, youll need to see a healthcare provider for treatment. A general rule is not to use over-the-counter medications for diarrhea if you also have a fever or blood in your stool. In those cases, call your healthcare provider.
When diarrhea lasts for a long period of time , your healthcare provider will base your treatment on the cause. This could involve a few different treatment options, including:
How should I take over-the-counter medications for diarrhea?
Its important to always follow the instructions on the packaging when you take an over-the-counter medication for diarrhea. The rules for managing diarrhea in an adult are different than in children. Always call your childs healthcare provider before giving your child any type of medication for diarrhea.
A tip for managing diarrhea in an adult with over-the-counter medication includes:
- Taking two tablespoons of Kaopectate® or two tablespoons of Pepto-Bismol® after each loose stool. Do not take more than eight doses in 24 hours.
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