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Information: What is diarrhea?

Diarrhea is a condition in which loose stools are passed more often than normal. Most episodes of diarrhea are mild and of short duration. It is a common symptom of a gastrointestinal problem, but can be a symptom of injury or disease. Diarrhea can be accompanied by:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Generally diarrhea is divided into two types:

  • Chronic diarrhea - lasting more than 3 weeks
  • Acute diarrhea - lasting from a few days to a week

Children and diarrhea

Do not hesitate to call a medical professional for advice about diarrhea treatment if your child has diarrhea. Diarrhea can be dangerous in newborns and infants because it may lead to dehydration in just a day or two. It should be understood that children with diarrhea should stay home from school and daycare until symptoms have gone away.

Chronic nonspecific diarrhea occurs in many children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years. Although they have chronic diarrhea, these children should have a normal appetite and will be growing and developing normally. Often children diagnosed with this type of diarrhea are helped by decreasing their consumption of some juices like apple and pear. Instead they are given orange and grape juice to drink. Your medical professional will guide you with this diarrhea treatment process.

The facts about diarrhea treatment

Diarrhea is usually treated with absorbents. For children treatment is best prescribed by a medical professional. Diarrhea treatments for adults can be dangerous for children and should only be given with a medical professional's guidance. It is especially important that a medical professional be contacted for diarrhea treatment when there is:

  • Moderate or severe abdominal pain
  • High fever
  • Bloody diarrhea
  • Diarrhea in children with other serious illness
  • Diarrhea with no improvement in 24 hours
  • Moderate or severe dehydration
  • Prolonged vomiting

Dehydration and diarrhea

Children and very young infants have an added complication when they have diarrhea. They have an increased risk of dehydration. Dehydration occurs when there is an excessive loss of fluids from the body due to diarrhea. Remember that water alone may not contain enough salt and nutrients to help with dehydration. Call your medical professional if your child has diarrhea and has:

  • Little or lack of urine
  • Urinates less frequently
  • Thirst
  • Irritability
  • No appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Dry mouth
  • No tears when crying
  • Skin that isn't as elastic as usual
  • Sleepiness