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Diarrhea and Dehydration

What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is the passage of watery stools.

What causes diarrhea?

Most diarrheas in children are caused by one of several diarrhea causing viruses and gets better by itself within a week. A child with viral diarrhea has a fever and often starts the illness with some vomiting. Shortly after these symptoms appear, the child develops diarrhea. Often children with viral diarrhea “feel bad,” but do not act ill. You should call your pediatrician if your child is less than 6 months of age or has any of the following:

  • Blood in stool
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Urinate less frequently
  • No tears when crying
  • Loss of appetite for liquids
  • High fever
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Dry, sticky mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme thirst

How long will diarrhea last?

Most of the time diarrhea lasts from 3 to 6 days. Occasionally a child will have loose stools for several days longer. As long as the child acts well and is taking adequate fluids and food, loose stools are not a great concern. Most children should continue to eat a normal diet including formula or milk while they have mild diarrhea. Breastfeeding should continue.  Special fluids have been designed to replace water and salts lost during diarrhea. The following are fluids made by reputable manufacturers such as: Pedialyte, Infalyte, other brands of special fluids are available and equally effective, and drug store generic brands.  If your child develops the warning signs of illness listed above, he/she may require IV fluids in the emergency department for several hours to correct dehydration.

 

Information on this site is intended for Angel Kids Pediatrics patients only. Always consult your doctor before beginning, modifying, or discontinuing any treatment plan.

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