Definition: Definition: Diarrhea is stools of looser consistency and more frequent than. Diarrhea is a common illness in infants and children and usually only lasts a short time. Diarrhea alone rarely causes dehydration. This condition usually resolves by itself.

Cause: Diarrhea is usually caused by a viral infection of the intestines. This is called gastroenteritis. Rarely bacteria or parasites cause it.

Diarrhea can also be due to increased fruit juice or to a food allergy. If only one or two loose stools are passed, the cause was probably something your child ate.

Diarrhea usually lasts from several days to a week, regardless of treatment. On occasion, loose stools can persist for several weeks in spite of dietary changes but we would that the stools would be reduced in frequency.

During a period of frequent, watery stools, the goal of management is to keep up with the fluids lost in the diarrhea. When one or two loose stools only have occurred, it can nothing therefore dont start dietary changes until there have been at least two or three loose stools.

Stool cultures or other labs are rarely indicated if the diarrhea has been present less than three week unless there is blood in the stool or fever for more than 72 hours along with the diarrhea, or the child appears very sick.

Home Care and Diet

General Home Care

Remember that diarrhea usually lasts only a short amount of time, and doesnt usually cause complications such as dehydration. The child can be safely treated at home. The childs diet may not need to change if the diarrhea is mild and there is no vomiting. 

If your infant is breast-fed, continue to feed on demand. If your child is bottle-fed, continue feeding as usual with full-strength formula. Older children can continue their normal diet but should avoid foods that may make diarrhea worse, such as foods high in fat or sugar. The BRAT diet alone is no longer recommended.

If diarrhea is more than mild or continues, it is advised to offer extra fluids to help prevent dehydration. In these cases you can offer your child electrolyte solutions such as PEDIALYTE, RICELYTE, LYTREN or KAOLECTROLYTE or their generic brands.These solutions are available in a variety of flavors and freezer pops and can be found at supermarkets, pharmacies and discount stores.

© ABC Pediatrics of Kankakee County, S.C. 2015