Diarrhea is defined as a sudden increase in watery stools. It is most often caused by a viral infection of the intestines called gastroenteritis. Diarrhea may present alone or with other symptoms including vomiting, fever and abdominal cramping. It can last for up to a week but typically the symptoms are the most severe in the first 24‐48 hours. Because it is a virus, treatment is supportive care and ensuring adequate hydration. If the diarrhea is persistent, then it is best to speak to your pediatrician, as there are other causes of diarrhea as well.
For children with diarrhea, the most important aspect of treatment is hydration.
Fruit juices may exacerbate the loose stools and it is best to avoid them. For a majority of children, dairy is okay and we encourage continuing to breastfeed, but in a minority of children it may cause increased bloating or cramping. If this is the case, then it is best to avoid dairy until the diarrhea resolves. If you child feels like eating, you can offer foods like bread, rice, applesauce and toast.
Probiotics have also been shown to help decrease diarrheal symptoms and we do recommend giving it daily during this illness.
Please call the office if:
Signs of dehydration: no urine for more than 8 hours, no tears when
crying, dry mouth, listlessness, weight loss and sunken eyes.
Any blood in the stool
Fever for more than 72 hours
Localized abdominal pain
Persisted diarrhea for more than 48 hours