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Video:Treating Diarrhea in Children

with Dr. Danelle Fisher

Diarrhea can be painful and traumatizing in children, and can be caused from many different infections and conditions. Learn about treating diarrhea in children in this health video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Treating Diarrhea in Children

Hi I'm Dr. Danelle Fisher, Board Certified Pediatrician with www.WestchesterPeds.com and I'm here today for About.com to talk to you about treating diarrhea in children.

Treating Diarrhea Caused by Viral Infection

Diarrhea is a common childhood ailment. The best way to treat diarrhea in children is to figure out what is causing it and get the proper treatment right away. Let's talk about these causes and treatments in more detail.

Infection is a common cause of diarrhea in children. Viral infections like rotavirus can cause several symptoms such as fever, vomiting and watery diarrhea. Treatment includes careful hydration with fluids containing electrolytes, such as with Pedialyte. Offer the child small sips every 10 minutes. If the diarrhea is much more mild and the child does not have other symptoms, it is advisable to feed the child his or her regular diet.

You may want to offer smaller amounts of regular food in the first day or two. Do not give over-the-counter anti-diarrhea medication unless directed by your pediatrician. Some bacterial infections cause bloody diarrhea. If there is blood in the diarrhea, call your pediatrician right away. Your child may or may not need treatment with antibiotics.

 

Treating Diarrhea Caused by Bacterial Infection

There are many bacterial causes of diarrhea that are not treated in most children because it doesn't speed recovery and can prolong viral shedding in the stool, such as with Salmonella. Food poisoning may cause diarrhea in children. Often there will also be vomiting and the symptoms come quickly and last for about 24 hours.  Treatment is the same as for a viral infection, with careful hydration with fluids containing electrolytes.

 

Treating Diarrhea Caused by Medication

Medications such as antibiotics can cause diarrhea. This is due to the killing off of the good bacteria that live in our gut and help us digest. Treatment includes maintaining hydration and using probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria that help us digest. Talk to your doctor if the diarrhea is excessive or if stomach cramping occurs. Your child may need to switch antibiotics to something better tolerated.

 

Treating Diarrhea Caused by Inflammatory Conditions

Diarrhea can also be caused by inflammatory conditions including: Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, celiac disease or irritable bowel syndrome. Toddlers sometimes develop diarrhea for up to 4 weeks or more after an illness; this is known as toddler's diarrhea. Talk to your doctor if the diarrhea lasts more than a few days or if you have specific concerns.

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