Children have diarrhea. What to do if?

By | October 30, 2021
diarrhea of children

Children usually have diarrhea or thin stools due to germs entering the stomach. In children, diarrhea is a cause for concern. This is because children are much more at risk of dehydration from diarrhea than adults. This dehydration can become fatal if treatment is not started quickly. Here’s how to prevent dysentery and dehydration in children. diarrhea of children

Symptoms of children diarrhea 

children have diarrhea. What to do if?


We usually use the words ‘diarrhea’ and ‘thin stool’ in the same sense. However, in medical terms, soft or thin stools do not necessarily mean diarrhea. Three or more soft or thin stools throughout the day are usually called diarrhea.

For babies who are breastfed, their bowel movements are naturally soft and sticky. That is not dysentery. However, if your child has thinner stools than usual, it is also considered diarrhea.

Symptoms of dehydration in children

In case of diarrhea, a lot of water and necessary salts are excreted from the body. When this deficit is not filled, dehydration occurs. And if this dehydration goes to an extreme level, it can lead to death. So the first treatment for diarrhea is to fill the dehydration. The main symptoms of dehydration are:

  • Dry mouth
  • Thirsty
  • Dry or itchy eyes
  • Dry mouth and lips
  • Dark yellow, strong-smelling urine
  • Decreased urination (less than 4 urinations in 24 hours)
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Feeling tired

Some of the symptoms are more common in children under 5 years of age. These symptoms are relatively severe, so it is important to take the child to the doctor immediately. Symptoms include:

  • Increased breathing and heart rate,
  • Crying but not tears,
  • Sitting on the soft part of the front of the palm of the head, and
  • Fainting

Causes of children diarrhea 

The most common causes are :

  • Having a bacterial attack or infection in the stomach. It is also called gastroenteritis. It usually heals within a few days.
  • Invasion of a virus called norovirus.
  • Food poisoning or food poisoning is also a common cause of thin stools or diarrhea. Read our article on food poisoning to know more about this.

Also, the causes that can cause diarrhea or thin stools are:

  • Medication Side Effects – Read the instructions given with any medicine to see what are the side effects of the medicine
  • Allergies to certain foods or intolerance to certain foods
  • Celiac disease
  • Covid-19

Domestic treatment of children’s thin stools

Usually, you can treat your baby’s diarrhea at home. The most important thing, in this case, is to drink plenty of fluids and eat food to avoid dehydration.

1. Treatment of dehydration in children with diarrhea

The main thing to do in the treatment of diarrhea is to make up for the lack of water and salt in the body. Therefore, in case of dysentrey, the child should be given an adequate amount of saline, plenty of fluids, and nutritious food.

After each thin stool, give 50-100 ml of liquid to children under 2 years of age, 100-200 ml of liquids to children between 2 and 10 years of age, and as much liquid to children over 10 years of age as they can eat.

2. What should children eat if they have diarrhea?

  • Continue to breastfeed or bottle-feed the baby. If the child vomits, you can feed him little by little.
  • Liquid drinks include chira water, rice starch, or coconut water. You can add a little salt to the rice flour.
  • For children who are on formula or solid foods, give small sips of water between meals.
  • Feed the baby every three to four hours. It is better to feed little by little without eating too much at once.
  • Prepare and feed the infant formula according to the instructions given. Do not feed the baby by making a thinner formula than that.

Do not eat if you have diarrhea

There is no basis to say that a child’s diarrhea can be cured by giving a certain food. For example, there is a widespread belief that diarrhea patients can eat nothing but white rice and glassware. This idea is not correct. Even if you have a thin bowel movement, you should eat all kinds of nutritious food made in a clean environment. However, in case of dysentery, refrain from feeding the child fruit juices, soft drinks, etc. bought from the market. This is because feeding can make diarrhea worse.

3. Medicine

Diarrhea usually stops within 5-6 days, but dehydration caused by diarrhea requires immediate treatment. In most cases, it is possible to get rid of dysentery through treatment at home. The following are the medicines for diarrhea –

1. Food saline: Generally, after each thin stool, the child is advised to give the above amount of food saline in proportion to his age. Rehydration at home, but the domestic ways of making rehydration can. Chira water, rice starch, or coconut water can also be given. You can add a little salt to the rice flour. If you feel nauseous, try to feed little by little.

2. Zinc tablets: Studies have shown that zinc tablets can reduce the duration of thin stools by one-fourth. According to the doctor’s advice, the child can be given 20 mg zinc tablets or syrup for 10-14 days.

3. Paracetamol: Paracetamol can be taken if you feel discomfort in the stomach. Before giving the medicine to the child, read the instructions with the medicine well, and you must take the right amount of medicine according to the age.

4. Loperamide-type medicine: In case of emergency, the doctor may recommend taking loperamide-type medicine to close the thin stool for a few hours. However, the drug should never be used in children under 12 years of age. This can be harmful to health.

The child should also be fed nutritious food along with medicine. Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of diarrhea in children. So breastfeeding babies under six months of age and nutritious foods for older babies should continue. However, keep in mind that in case of severe dehydration, you may have to be hospitalized and given saline intravenously.

Medications that should not be taken in case of diarrhea

  • Medicines to stop dysentrey should not be taken in children under 12 years of age.
  • Do not give aspirin to children under 18 years of age. Make sure that the word ASPIRIN is written below the name of the medicine.
  • Do not take any antibiotics or medications to stop rapid bowel movements without a doctor’s advice.

What to do to prevent the spread of diarrhea in the family

In case of thin stools or dysentery, the patient needs adequate rest. On the one hand, it will help to recover quickly, on the other hand, it will also play an important role in stopping the spread of diarrhea.

Keep the baby at home for at least two days after recovering has healed. Do not send the child to school or play on the field. Otherwise, this thin stool or diarrhea may spread among others. What to do to prevent the spread of diarrhea:

  • Be sure to wash the baby’s hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Wash clothes or bed sheets that come in contact with the toilet separately with warm water.
  • Clean water faucets, door handles, toilet seats, flush handles, and areas that may come in contact with germs every day.

Do not do anything if you have dysentery

  • Do not share baby dishes, knives, towels, clothes with anyone.
  • Do not drop the baby into the pond or swimming pool until 2 weeks have passed since the symptoms went away.

When to go to the doctor for a child’s diarrhea?

If you have diarrhea, if any of the following symptoms occur, consult a doctor immediately without delay. The severe symptoms  are described :

  • Blood or adhesive mucus going to the toilet,
  • Severe abdominal pain,
  • Diarrhea does not improve,
  • Not urinating once in 12 hours,
  • Symptoms of dehydration are mentioned above,
  • Fever for more than 48 hours with dysentery, ie body temperature above 101 degrees Fahrenheit, and
  • The baby’s hands and feet become cold and there are spots on the skin.

These indicate a serious condition, so it is very important to start treatment with home treatment as soon as possible with the advice of a doctor.

Reference by Sarah M. Larson, MD

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