Pediatric Diarrhea Treatment Questions and Answers
At KidsHealth Pediatrics, we provide comprehensive, quality care for children, under the direction of top-rated pediatrician Dr. Maria Nabong. To Book an Appointment, please feel free to give us a Call. We have 2 Pediatric Offices in Scottsdale and Glendale AZ.
What are some signs and symptoms my child has severe diarrhea?
Diarrhea tends to be more common in children and infants, as they usually experience viruses and other illnesses more frequently, and at times with more severity, than adults. While the main sign of severe diarrhea in children is loose, watery stool, other symptoms that may come along with this are:
- Vomiting, which may be frequent
- A stomach ache or general stomach pain
Keep in mind that the symptoms of severe diarrhea may differ depending on the cause. Dehydration is one of the main risks associated with severe diarrhea, so it’s important to ensure your child does not become dehydrated as much as possible, by administering fluids regularly.
When should I take my child to the doctors for diarrhea?
Children can get diarrhea frequently and for a variety of reasons. It can be difficult to determine the cause and how best to approach or treat it, so it is a good idea to seek out medical attention and care if you are unsure. At KidsHealth Pediatrics, our in-house pediatrician, Dr. Maria Nabong, can assess your child’s condition, help determine the cause of the diarrhea, and recommend a course of treatment. Even if the treatment plan can be managed at home, it is best to receive professional advice, so you know you are using the most effective approach. Since we are an urgent care clinic, we can provide an appointment quickly, and in most cases, this is a better, more efficient option than the emergency room.
Why does my child have diarrhea?
Diarrhea is quite common in children for a few different reasons. As their immune systems are still developing, they tend to experience viruses more frequently than adults, in addition to the fact that they may be exposed to more environments where these viruses may be present, such as school, daycare, the playground, or day camps. Also, food intolerances or allergies often crop up during childhood, and in some cases this can also cause diarrhea. However, the most common reason that children usually have diarrhea is because of infection from a virus, such as rotavirus, or viral gastroenteritis. These viruses can take anywhere from 5-14 days to resolve.
In some cases, diarrhea may be caused by food poisoning, an issue that can also impact adults if there is exposure to a food contaminant. In this case, symptoms will usually resolve within a day or so. Sometimes persistent diarrhea can be a sign of a different chronic health issue, such as Chron’s disease, celiac disease (a life-threatening allergy to gluten), or ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease. If that’s the case, your child may need more rigorous or regular treatment, and you may require the care of a specialist.
Regardless of the cause of diarrhea, it’s important to ensure your child stays hydrated, as dehydration is one of the main risks associated with continued diarrhea. Using an oral rehydration therapy (ORT), such as Pedialyte can be useful. If symptoms persist or worsen, it’s important to seek out medical care.
Can diarrhea be contagious?
The infections that cause diarrhea can be very contagious, spread through hand-to-hand contact, or contaminated food and water. This is why it’s quite common for many children to get sick at once in a daycare or school environment, as there is usually close contact. In some cases, a parent or sibling can also get sick, or vice versa, although some adults may be inoculated against the virus that is causing the child’s diarrhea. This is why it’s important to determine the cause of your child’s diarrhea and pursue the right treatment and management plan.