Diarrhea is a common ailment in babies and toddlers, though it is mostly mild and brief. It can last anywhere between 4-14 days. Diarrhea is associated with more bowel movements than usual, and the stools are less formed and more watery. Sometimes, children also experience other symptoms such as fever, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, cramps, stomach-ache, blood and/or mucus in the stool, and so on. Diarrhea can worsen if timely treatment is not administered, as it drains water and salts from your child’s body. These fluids must be replaced quickly so that he/she is not dehydrated. It is also noteworthy that diarrhea germs can spread easily from one person to another, and especially from child to child. They can spread quicker if the child has not learned to use the toilet yet.
One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of diarrhea is proper handwashing and handling food safely. If your child has diarrhea, you should take the following measures, besides children’s diarrhea medicine:
- If you are breastfeeding, you should continue doing that on demand
- If you are formula feeding, continue that, but don’t dilute the formula
- A variety of fluids should beefed to your child more frequently, besides the food they normally eat
- If your child is not taking other fluids well, you can try feeding an oral rehydration solution (ORS), besides the above-mentioned recommendations
Besides viral and bacterial infections, diarrhea in kids can also be caused by food poisoning, the symptoms may include vomiting, though they tend to recede in 24 hours. Treatment for diarrhea related to food poisoning is the same as that caused by infection. You should keep your child hydrated and consult your doctor immediately so that he/she can prescribe the right diarrhea medicine for kids. Other causes of diarrhea include irritable bowel disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, food allergies, and celiac disease.
If the symptoms don’t seem to be getting better, or if your child is showing signs of dehydration, including crying without tears, fewer wet diapers than usual, darker urine than usual, or a sunken soft spot on the top of the head, you should all your pediatrician immediately. Make sure you feed very mild food to infants/toddles during this time. Spicy and fried foods should be strictly avoided. You can resume normal diet once the diarrhea stops. The BRAT diet is a good choice during this period; it comprises bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.