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Diarrhea may be caused by:
Bacterial, viral, or parasitic infections (such as Salmonella, rotavirus, or Giardia)
Food intolerances (such as dairy products)
Medicines (such as antibiotics)
Intestinal illness (such as Crohn’s disease)
Common symptoms of diarrhea may include:
Looser, more watery stools than normal
More frequent stools than normal
More urgent need to pass stool than normal
Pain or spasms of the digestive tract
The healthcare provider examines your child. You’ll be asked about your child’s symptoms, health, and daily routine. The healthcare provider may also order lab tests, such as stool studies or blood tests. These tests can help detect problems that may be causing your child’s diarrhea.
Your child's healthcare provider can talk with you about treatment options. These may include:
Preventing dehydration by giving your child plenty of fluids (such as water). Infants may also be given a children’s electrolyte solution. Limit fruit juice or soda, which has a lot of sugar, as do commercially available sports drinks.
Giving your child prescribed medicine to treat the cause of the diarrhea. Do not give your child antidiarrheal medicines unless told to by your child’s healthcare provider.
Eating starchy foods such as cereal, crackers, or rice.
Removing certain foods from your child’s diet if they are causing the diarrhea. Your child may need to avoid dairy products and foods high in fat or sugar until the diarrhea has passed. However, most children can eat a regular diet, which will actually help them recover more quickly.
Infants can usually continue to breastfeed
Call the healthcare provider if your otherwise healthy child:
Has fever or diarrhea that lasts longer than 3 days.
Has a fever:
In an infant under 3 months old, a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38ºC) or higher, or as advised by your child's healthcare provider
In a child of any age who has a temperature that rises repeatedly to 104°F (40ºC) or higher, or as advised by your child's healthcare provider
A fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old or for 3 days in a child 2 years older.
Has a seizure caused by the fever
Is unable to keep down any food or water.
Shows signs of dehydration (very dark or little urine, no tears when crying, dry mouth, or dizziness).
Has blood or pus in the stool, or black, tarry stool.
Looks or acts very sick.
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